The Glass Cliff: How Women Can Avoid Falling Off

As if figuring out how to shatter the well-known glass ceiling wasn’t enough, professional women are faced with navigating yet another stumbling block to career advancement: the glass cliff. This phenomenon describes situations in which women are appointed to executive roles in a corporation during times of struggling business performance. High-performing women are elevated to these roles despite the chance of failure being the highest, often leading to them being held personally responsible if they can’t save already poor-performing companies. In other words, women are being set up to fail.


So why do women even take on these precarious positions in the first place? While a male executive in a similar position may feel it’s easy to walk away from a risky promotion, many women don’t have the same luxury. Thanks to continued female underrepresentation in the workplace, women could see any chance at a leadership role as being worth the risk. For those women considering an uncertain executive-level promotion, it pays to be prepared.


By analyzing industry trends to get a good idea of potential risk, building a strong cross-departmental network of support to fall back on, and bringing up any concerns about the role with a company’s HR department, female professionals can succeed in precarious roles and avoid the perplexing paradox of the glass cliff.


For more tips on how to navigate the glass cliff, check out the infographic from Fundera below:



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What is the Glass Cliff?