Why Theresa May, Christine Lagarde, Angela Merkel and Hillary Clinton are countering the belief that you are more likely to be pushed over the glass cliff if you are a successful woman than if you are a successful man…  

Kevin Roberts, executive chairman of the advertising giant Saatchi and Saatchi, has been forced to resign after saying that women lack "vertical ambition" and prefer to be ‘happy doing good’ than rise to the top of their chosen profession. This is palpable nonsense, but sadly ambitious and successful women are forever crashing into the invisible glass barrier that prevents them from reaching the top of the metropolitan elite.  They are often thwarted from accessing top management roles by the men who have travelled quickly on the glass accelerator to the top and who choose to sideline them away from policy and into personnel - and who often promote male clones of themselves…

On the rare occasion when women do manage to break through the glass ceiling, however, it is usually when crisis looms; profits are falling, interest is waning or the government is collapsing. Arise Theresa May, Christine Lagarde, Angela Merkel and Hillary Clinton.  They face difficult and challenging times, their chances of failure are very high and they may well be heading for the glass cliff where their opponents will all be waiting to push them off.

However, business leaders would be well advised to watch this powerful group of women as they progress though the unchartered waters of Brexit and some might even want to take notes from their leadership manuals. They all have self-awareness and self-regulation in abundance and their self-confidence and self-control are formidable. They must now build bonds, manage conflict and initiate change. Business leaders should watch their progress and should be reminded that they, too, need to employ people females with strong interpersonal skills who can work just as well within a senior leadership team as any of their male counterparts