Here is the scary reality. Most girls do not want to be leaders.

Research indicates most girls define leadership and bravery as something ‘heroic.’ In fact, only 1/3 of middle-school girls today believe they can be a leader. The numbers go down as they get older. 

 

My 11 year-old daughter's definition of leadership:

...guide people, be brave, take initiative, always have a positive attitude, be accepting, ‘kind of like a teacher in a way’...it’s important to be a leader BUT everything you do is so big and if you make the wrong decision everyone blames you...
 
That ending!

 No wonder she refused to be a leader.    

One night, a year earlier, I noticed my then 10-year-old daughter exhibiting some of the same career-derailing traits as many of my female clients.  Did it really start this early, I wondered?  I decided to leverage my 15 years of experience as a leadership development consultant to delve deep into the world of girls leadership.  

LEADUP chronicles the journey I am taking with my daughter.  My early history in finance and auditing compels me to conduct extensive research and seek fact-based solutions for the topics my daughter is tackling.  

Unfortunately, the data proves girls have an uphill battle. Research proves:

-Girls pride themselves on perfectionism and, therefore, avoid taking risks that could help them grow. 
-They hate conflict, so they do not end up practicing self-advocacy or communicating during difficult conversations. 
-To avoid being labeled "bossy" they turn away from leadership roles.

On top of these internal roadblocks, girls feel society's triple bind:

-Be confident, but not conceited
-Be smart, but no one likes a know-it-all
-Ambition is good, but trying too hard is bad
-Be assertive, but only if it does not upset anyone else.

My Mission

My goal is to shed light on these issues that affect girls so heavily. Of course, helping my daughter navigate these tough issues is my top priority, but by chronicling our journey, she and I also strive to help other girls along the way.

I write, she approves, we post.  She is the bravest person I know.

 

I live with my husband and two children where I also enjoy sinking my teeth into big philanthropic projects that make a commensurately big impact like Notes & Words and TEDxYouth@EB.

 

For more background on Laura Clydesdale visit her profile here.  You can follow her on Twitter at @l_clydesdale and she can be reached at laura@lauraclydesdale.com.