Illustration by Katya Citrus
As part of International Women's Day, we at SinnerSchrader created an internal website that was filled with content from our employees. Among other things, we asked various women in leadership positions the same three questions. The answers were so inspiring that we didn't want to withhold them from the rest of the world. Part five of the series introduces Pia Schott's (Managing Director) answers.
For me, female leadership means that women can contribute their skills to organizations just as naturally and confidently as men – both on a professional and personal level. But it is also an expression of a broader social change: The desire to balance work with family and personal priorities needs to become far more accepted in companies. The first steps in this direction are becoming noticeable, but it is a long way to go. There is still a strong relationship between career success and the sacrifice of personal life. To break down this mindset is, in my opinion, an extremely important part of leadership. And to be honest, I'm still in the process of learning to implement that myself.
Would you say that being a woman has influenced your way of leading and/or did you have to acquire (or drop) certain qualities to be successful?
That is a tough question for me to answer, as I struggle to separate “being a woman” from “being Pia”. What I can say is that I have definitely worked hard on certain qualities and still do. This was and sometimes still is a painful process… I try to reflect my way of working continuously and also take external support for it. This has definitely changed my “professional me” over the years – regardless of being a woman or not.
Let’s face it: We are still far from equality in the business world. And I believe it is almost impossible not to be confronted with that during your career. Whether you are labeled as career-obsessed or not ambitious enough. As a Rabenmutter or without enough commitment. As too emotional or too quiet. Too arrogant or too insecure. Too feminine or too masculine.
What I would like to tell you is: You don’t have to do it alone. Look for people who will accompany you on your way. The most important ones for me are:
A mentor, who supports you to expand your horizons, who pushes you out of the comfort zone and to whom you can talk openly about your career ambitions, so that you get the support and encouragement you need.
A colleague, to help and support each other. Having someone you can really trust and rely on (and vice versa) is everything!
A coach, for unsparing feedback and guidance. Not to bend yourself, but to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses and learn to use them in the best possible way.
Last but not least, besides the people standing by your side: trust your instincts. I don't want to think in stereotypes, but for me this is one of the most outstanding qualities of women:
Deep down, you know all the answers.