Leadership Development Programs for WomenFebruary 07, 2020
Statistically speaking, men have the upper hand as leaders in business. They represent and are twice as likely as women to advance to an executive position. There has been an increase in the number of women leaders over the past 3 years. However, many organizations are still far off from achieving any semblance of leadership balance.
Gender equality within leadership teams is a challenge that organizations face every day. Diversifying your leadership team is about finding the right person to fill the role, regardless of gender.
Women in leadership positions, as an underserved group, do not receive the focus and resources they require to be successful. As a result:
∑ Only 29% of senior management roles are held by women
∑ Only 5% of women hold CEO positions in the United States
∑ Out of 100 men promoted to management, only 72 women were promoted
Companies with more women in leadership have been shown to outperform their competition by more than a third. A strong representation of women in higher administrative positions leads to improved organizational health, global competitive advantage, responsiveness to stakeholders, and a better public image.
Giving women an opportunity to work towards filling those positions gives you the opportunity to take advantage of those benefits.
Challenges Women Leaders Face in the Workplace
Women are making moves to shatter the glass ceiling and grab leadership positions by the reigns. However, no great leader makes it to the top without obstacles. There are challenges that all women face during their journey to the top. These challenges include:
∑ are centered around traits that are viewed as being more common for males. These traits include confidence, decisiveness, and assertiveness. By associating these words with male leaders, organizations are forcing women to spend time proving again and again that they possess the same traits.
∑ There is a to act as role models or mentors. Without having others to follow, women are struggling to forge their own career path to leadership.
∑ are associated with gender, creating an invisible barrier for women. As leaders are typically seen as male, some executives donít think to look for women to fill the role.
∑ , but rarely both. When a woman takes charge, she is viewed as a competent leader but is often disliked due to her ďaggressiveĒ personality.
∑ are considered a greater burden for women. Historically, women have been expected to take the lead at home, while men lead in the business world.
∑ and therefore do not take the initiative to look for opportunities to lead.
These challenges lend themselves directly to the stereotypes that create gender inequality. To combat these challenges your organization must be willing to give women the career development opportunity needed to become successful leaders.
Creating a Leadership Development Program for Women
Creating a leadership development program will give your female employees the opportunity to have mobility in your organization. If you want your program to be successful, there are very clear best practices that need to be considered.
Before planning your leadership development program, you must take the time to redefine what it means to be a leader. Provide evidence to your current leadership team on the benefits of gender diversity. This will aid in reversing the traditional views of women leaders and help your organization keep an open mind about change and inclusion.
You arenít just redefining how the men in your organization view a leader. You also have to help your female employees see the potential to be a leader. By embracing a new mindset, you will encourage the women in your workplace to take a more active role in pursuing leadership positions.
Identifying who should participate in your leadership development program is essential to the program's success. Identifying your potential women leaders is made easier when knowing the analytics regarding:
- Who your organization is currently hiring and plans to hire
- Who you have already placed in your succession pipeline
- Who you currently consider your high-potential employees
When identifying your potential leaders, itís important that you consider all employees. By only focusing on employees you believe want to be a leader, you may miss out on the opportunity to develop a great employee.
As you set your program objectives, itís important that you focus on actively developing your women leaders. This is done by placing them in situations that require them to actively learn how to lead. This can include:
∑ Giving them the opportunity to take charge when a current leader is away
∑ Allowing them to collaborate with other departments on special projects
∑ Delegating leadership tasks to them
Actively developing your women leaders gives them the opportunity to show your leadership team the value they bring to the organization. This will help to boost their confidence as a leader and motivate them to continue to push past any barriers.