Leading on the Edge in Eye Care: Exploring the Glass Cliff in Challenging Times.

What Is a Glass Cliff? Wikipedia, defines The glass cliff is a hypothesized phenomenon in which women are more likely to break the glass ceiling during periods of crisis or downturn when the risk of failure is highest. The highest time for failure is during times of recession and crisis within the organization. This phenomenon is not well known, it was published in 2005 British Journal of Managementon 100 companies in the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index.

Women finally break through the glass ceiling to only fall off the cliff. The glass ceiling has obscure barriers but the glass cliff has defined lines visible to all that can have jeopardizing effects on career trajectory for many female leaders. Their effectiveness as a leader shapes their future standing as an organizational leader in an industry. Women who have diligently pursued leadership roles throughout their careers often have fierce dedication, break barriers, and take risks to reach those positions. During uncertain times, companies may promote women based qualities they inherently possess. The decision to elevate a female leader during a period of turmoil can serve the dual purpose of projecting a ‘progressive’ image while providing a fallback if improvements do not materialize.

Here are real-life instances of glass cliff promotions. Recent research indicates that these women, following such appointments, have not assumed leadership roles again.

photo from https://www.techtarget.com/whatis/infographic/Facing-the-edge-The-glass-cliff-at-a-glance

Why is this important in Eye Care?

As we enter into a recession in our industry, this article aims to provide insights into this phenomenon. Understanding is empowerment. Recognizing certain patterns is crucial for the future of eye care professionals. Awareness of potential outcomes enables us to break the cycle. Pay attention to how women are promoted in our industry; it allows you to redirect your focus, seek details, and demand resources essential for success in our roles. When women hold leadership positions in our field, they can empathize with the challenges we encounter daily. This contributes to narrowing the leadership gap in eye care. Their success will be our future success as we strive for leadership roles in our industry.

Can you see certain patterns within your small optometric practice or within larger organizations? What can you do as a leader within your practice, state and national organizations to make your mark and be a catalyze for change in our industry? Leadership is not just a title, it is an action.




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