(NAPSI)—If you don’t have a woman boss now, you probably will very soon. As 50 percent of the U.S. workforce and more than half of all managers and supervisors, women are reaching leadership positions in record numbers. According to the book Women Lead: Career Perspectives from Workplace Leaders” by Apollo Research Institute, women outperform men in key leadership skills.

Drawing on interviews with 200 women leaders, and survey responses from more than 3,000 male and female managers,Women Lead explores 21st-century career trends and provides practical advice to help women excel in the new world of work. Readers will discover facts, figures, and real-life stories about leadership, education, and career planning, and learn how women are using negotiation, networking, and other collaborative practices to lead their organizations into the future.womens_history_month

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Women in History

Joan Crawford

“Don’t fuck with me fellas.  This ain’t my first time at the rodeo!”

Once you get past the initial absurdity and over-acting in Faye Dunaway’s portrayal of Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest (but then who knows, in real life, Ms. Crawford was the “fiercest of them all!”), the lesson is how women, although gaining significant strides, are still underrepresented on corporate boards of directors.  The movie’s finest scene, shows the barriers professional women have faced in achieving nominations to corporate boards–and challenges once they are on them.

While some may have originally doubted the wisdom of Joan Crawford’s eventual appointment as the first woman to Pepsi-Cola’s board of directors, the fact was that she was an asset to the company during the 1960’s until her forced retirement a few years before she died in 1977.  Business-savvy and with a fierce work ethic, Crawford traveled the world as Pepsi-Cola’s spokeswoman, enhancing Pepsi’s brand the way few celebrities could today.  Over the years plenty of men were appointed to corporate boards thanks to their connections; few toiled as hard as Joan Crawford after receiving such an appointment. (excerpt from the blog greengopost.com)

In films, Crawford often played hardworking young women who found romance and financial success. That may have been debatable in her personal life.  But, these “rags-to-riches” stories were well received by Depression-era audiences and were popular with women even then. Crawford became one of Hollywood’s most prominent movie stars and one of the highest paid women in the United States.

Here are some tips to help women (and men) acquire and demonstrate valuable leadership skills.

• Get tech savvy: By 2020, more than 70 percent of jobs will have a technical component. Stay current by upgrading your computer skills or learning new ones. Check job postings to see which skills employers are looking for, and take classes that teach those skills.

• Polish your people skills: Of more than 3,000 managers surveyed for “Women Lead,” nearly half picked communication as the most important skill for today’s leaders. Help your team excel by clearly communicating goals, roles and achievements.

• Live to learn: Continuing education ranked as the No. 1 most important activity for effective leaders, according to the managers surveyed for “Women Lead.” Make learning a lifelong habit by enrolling in a certification or advanced-degree program to boost your academic credentials.

You can learn more at www.apolloresearchinstitute.org or find Apollo Research Institute on Facebook.