What is your day-to-day role at Lucid? What do you do in detail?
EM: I head up sales in EMEA – what this means on a day-to-day basis is to define and refine our strategy for revenue generation, and then deliver it profitably.
MH: I’m the Controller, which means that I oversee the entire accounting team, make sure we have clean, auditable financial statements, and keep our bills paid – among other things.
LF: I’m General Counsel and am responsible for managing and handling all legal-related matters.
What brought you to Lucid?
EM: A belief that the people were of the highest caliber and that there was more than just lip service being paid to delivering best-in-class solutions to clients.
MH: The VP of People, a very persistent former CFO, and the opportunity to have ‘an exciting, big-city job’ without moving to a boring big city.
LF: The people.
What are the top 3 survival skills a woman needs to lead a company?
EM: By and large the same skills as a man – you have to be the right person for the job! Not all hiring managers see it this way though, so: (1) Trust yourself. You’re there for a reason and you don’t have to prove yourself more than anyone else. (2) It’s alright to not always have all the answers immediately – don’t ask of yourself more than you’d ask of others. (3) Stereotypes can sometimes be even more pronounced at the top, for both men and women, so don’t fall into the stereotype trap!
MH: (1) Trust your intuition – it’s probably right. (2) Don’t be afraid to talk about the elephant in the room, even when it’s awkward. (3) Be confident in your abilities and fake the rest until you make it. We’re all learning here, and being honest about that will open up avenues for discussion and feedback that might not otherwise exist.
LF: (1) Don’t be afraid of conflict. If a conversation doesn’t feel good, have enough courage to say something about it — not in the moment but later when the time is right. (2) Be willing to say no. Each of us is responsible for setting our own boundaries. We shouldn’t wait for someone else to do that for us. (3) Trust your gut instinct. Don’t be pressured into thinking a different way just because someone else seems more confident. Often times the people with the most bravado are the most insecure.
What are the key differences you’ve noticed between men and women in the workplace?
EM: It’s important to remember that these are generalizations and not representative of 100% of circumstances. However, some of the things I’ve noticed repeatedly over the years are that self-promotion isn’t a quality limited to men but seems, disproportionately, to be viewed as something women lack in the workplace. Most senior women I’ve worked with have, at some time or another, been told they have to raise their profile/work on their brand, but I don’t know many men who have!
Following on from this, I also feel men are more confident about their abilities – most of the women I know focus on what they can’t do well rather than what they can. Men might be 80% qualified for job at a higher level and feel comfortable knowing that they had only a 20% gap to bridge, whereas women might tend to focus on not being able to do that job 100% and, therefore, not feel as qualified. Finally, women seem to listen more (and better) and underestimate the power of this.
MH: Men tend to be more direct and ask for what they want – whether it’s money, feedback or titles. Being this direct can be a challenge for women who fear being labeled as too demanding or bossy.
I find that, whether intentional or not, men tend to be more forthcoming with constructive feedback when coaching other men vs coaching women.
LF: I’m smiling…. These are generalizations, so certainly not always true.
I’d say that men are generally adept at exaggerating their skills and knowledge while women tend to downplay their skills and knowledge. Said a different way, men assume they’re qualified for the next promotion (even if they’re not), while I think women assume they’re not qualified enough or not ready for the next promotion. Maybe this is why it is difficult for women to ask for salary increases; we’re focused on what we cannot do rather than on what we can do.
Men are better at talking with authority even if they’re uncertain as to the accuracy of those statements; conversely, I think women hesitate and are less confident speaking with authority if they’re not certain.
Also, men are better at saying no. Women are terrible at this; we like to be people pleasers.
What advice would you give women looking to for a leadership role?
EM: Don’t be put off by some of the barriers (perceived or real) that exist. Most women in our industry have become leaders by being unafraid to voice their career goals and by not attempting to be more “male” than the men they may be competing for recognition with. Remember your worth and don’t sell yourself short.
MH: (I’d give this advice to men and women) Work on your interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. Learn how to read your audience and understand the motivations of your coworkers in any situation. This is crucial to having productive workplace interactions and being respected by colleagues.
Speak up when you need advice or coaching, even if it’s uncomfortable.
Try to always keep the big picture in mind even when you’re stuck in the weeds. It will help you prioritize and innovate.
Find role models and cultivate those relationships.
LF: Be your own advocate. No one will do it better than you. Don’t wait to be included or involved…involve yourself. Be willing to make decisions. Be willing to make mistakes.