How To Create a Successful Women's Leadership Program

October 04, 2016
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When it comes to leadership development, a focus on women is heavily trending. Women are quickly escalating into the leadership field as the times change; but how can organizations ensure that they will properly cultivated?
From glass ceilings to work-life balance and office politics, female executive leaders face numerous challenges. As they ascend the corporate ladder and take on greater management responsibilities, women executives need to do so with a full understanding of the dynamics involved.
Statistically speaking, men still have the upper hand (provided by Forbes.com)

They represent 80% of the executive suite and corporate boards



They hold 87% of line officer positions

They hold almost 70% of management and top management positions


They are twice as likely as women to advance and nearly four times as likely to make the jump to CEO
Meanwhile, women hold about 14% of executive officer positions, 17% of board seats, and only 3% to 4% of CEO positions. 

Women are shattering the mold and grabbing these leadership positions by the reigns; but no great leader makes it to the top alone. There are ways to create successful women’s leadership development programs that foster efficiency and diversity.

Challenges Women in Leadership Face

The Leadership Gap: The numbers are apparent and the gap is very sobering. Only 1 in 5 women make it to Chief positions in the top fortune 500 companies. This is partly due to the responsibility of women in mentoring; specifically women mentoring women. Women have taken bold strides over the decades to get where they are today; and the trend is showing positive results, however it is a team effort. Men and women alike need each other to make it to the top.

Male Leaders: This may sound sexist- although it isn't in the least bit. Women face a certain challenges in the workplace, one of them being exclusion. Having a male leader develop a female's skills is fine; however a fellow female leader developing those skills have been shown to be more effective. A female leader mentoring another female to become a leader is a unique pair because the women understand the certain challenges they face in the workplace, having a female leader. However there should be males included in the program and vice versa to present unique views on leadership.

Perception in the workplace: Women are often stereotypically looked down upon in the workplace. This comes from the predisposed notion that women are “too emotional” to be a responsible decision maker; which is ludacris. Some men (especially more “old school” ones) may feel uncomfortable receiving directives from a female.

Presumably, some companies really do want to balance their leadership teams with greater diversity. Here’s how they can get started:

Ensuring Women’s Leadership Development Will be a Success


Networking: Employee networking groups for women are great for women to stay connected and possibly connect with each other for business. It’s a great way for women to reach out as mentors and mentees to be able to foster leadership development.

Mentoring: One of the best ways to ensure a solid leadership development program for women is a solid mentoring program. This should be inclusive of both male and female mentors because both are essential to the success of aspiring leaders. The role of women mentors in closing the leadership gap (http://www.insala.com/Articles/the-role-of-women-mentors-in-closing-the-gender-leadership-gap.asp) is essential to female business progression. Inclusion is key, however. Women should also have male mentors for their network connections, skills and proficiencies, and for inclusion sake.

Marketing: A recent trend in the marketplace these days are companies boasting about their efforts to attract and retain women; which is a great thing. It should be openly advertised and celebrated because inclusion is a beautiful thing. It shows the efforts of the organization to be as “user friendly”, or diverse as possible . Some companies are not as transparent about their shockingly scarce numbers pertaining to women in leadership positions; which is not good. There are more and more female-centric lists popping up: Forbes most powerful women, spotlights on up-and-coming women, and companies where women want to work.

Results indicate that these steps will be worth the effort. Companies with more women in leadership have been shown to outperform their competition by more than a third. A strong representation of women leads to improved organizational health, global competitive advantage, responsiveness to stakeholders, and a better public image.
For more information on starting a diverse mentoring program aimed at women’s leadership development, visit insala.com today to schedule a demo.

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