3 simple steps for developing female leaders

It is encouraging to see an increase in research and articles calling for improvement in the representation of women in management positions and leadership roles. Studies consistently show that organisations with more women in senior ranks outperform those that don’t by 30%-40% on key measures such as productivity, profitability and sustainability.

According to the Diversity Council of Australia, if we do nothing it will take one hundred and seventy-seven years for women to gain equality. Equally concerning is the lack of practical direction and ideas on how to support the development of our female talent within a broader organisational context. In providing this support, it is helpful to understand the different issues and support requirements commonly faced by women at the key phases of their career.

Early career stages development needs:

At this stage, it’s important for women to develop awareness of their skill set and abilities and for their workplaces to provide opportunities to develop these skills and practice them in a supportive environment.

Personal development focus:

  • Personal awareness, awareness of others, managing up, confidence building, political savvy, networking

Organisational opportunities:

  • Career planning
  • Cross-functional project exposure and project leadership opportunities

Professional support:

  • Job shadowing, internal mentoring
  • Training and development workshops

Mid-career development needs:

Once the individual is established in her career, opportunity to gain relevant commercial experience (P&L management, strategic planning) is important in order to earn senior appointments.

Personal development focus:

Risk taking, innovation, persuading and influencing skills, profile management and self-marketing, stress management and resilience building, peer relationships

Organisational opportunities:

  • Flexible career planning
  • Stretch assignments/opportunities to present to the Senior Leadership team
  • Team leadership opportunities

Professional support:

  • Coaching
  • Internal sponsor or mentor
  • Membership in professional associations and networks
  • Cross-functional project or job opportunities

Senior phase support needs:

At a more senior level, women are more likely to require support with networking and a safe sounding board for strategic thinking, business improvement and innovation.

Personal development focus:

  • Authentic leadership, networking, courage in decision making, perseverance, appropriate assertiveness, energy management

Organisational opportunities:

  • Functional leadership opportunities

Professional support:

  • Coaching
  • Strategic senior networks
  • Acting as a mentor for younger, less experienced colleagues

For a confidential coffee chat on how we can support you or your organisation please email fleur@blueberryinstitute.com or call 0404 559 244, for a complimentary coffee discussion.