Beyond Grey Pinstripes


Faculty Research


The Role of Balance in Women's Leadership Self-Identity

This study explores the role balance plays in the leadership self-identity of women college presidents. Their understanding of themselves as leaders reveals the complexity of leadership. Balance goes beyond juggling personal and professional lives and time commitments. It encompasses embracing weaknesses as well as strengths without losing competence or credibility, understanding that self-confidence and missteps are compatible, knowing that language can divide as well as unite, and recognizing that leadership includes loneliness and distance along with connection and praise. Using narrative inquiry, the research examines the following: how these women describe and define themselves as leaders, what personal attributes contribute to their leadership, their past and future career intentions, how their relationships influence their leadership self-identity, and the stories they tell about themselves and their experiences. A clear picture of leadership self-identity as a holistic concept emerges, integrating five critical components—balance, authenticity, leading through relationships, composing a life, and learning. The complexity and nuance of balance as a facet of leadership, and the resulting implications for identifying and selecting leaders, is the focus of this article.


Hertneky, R.

Journal Title: 

Advancing Women in Leadership Journal



Page Numbers: 

Number 14