Getting more women into leadership roles involves supporting their motivation to lead and ensuring their contribution are valued and recognised. A recent survey by Mercer – When Women Thrive, Businesses Thrive, revealed that Women are conspicuously absent in leadership positions across the globe. While women comprise about half the workforce, they represent less than 1/3 of the managerial workforce, as their representations drop at the senior leadership level.
Both men and women bring unique leadership traits to the leadership table. It is also important to mention that women tend to exhibit key leadership traits in people development, expectations and rewards, role modelling, participative decision making.
This and more are strong premises why women should be challenged and adequately prepared for leadership roles and other male-dominated roles. It starts with the organisation leaders helping women build their unique leadership brands. They can do this by assisting women in the workplace to improve their leadership traits using a strategic and well-curated learning curriculum. By doing this, it creates a more competitive and well-rounded workforce that moves the company forward through a conscientious expansion in diversity.
Generally, there are research and evidence that demonstrates the positive effect of formal learning programs in leadership development. However, the current global business realities now call for a practical approach for addressing urgent competency needs with a faster time-to-competency – utilising a blended learning program built into the flow of work and accessible anytime, any day.
A robust LIRAC-R model powers this approach: Learn – Introspect/Retrospect – Act– Crowdsource – Repeat.
LIRAC-R provides curated interactive digital learning assets with short bursts of video and animation-based lessons from thought-leaders and executive summaries/books for a flexible ‘learn’. This should be graduated across carefully selected leadership tiers to allow onboarding of women leaders and potentials. The platform enables them to access this on the go using a suave mobile and web experience to encourage utilisation. Next is Introspect/Retrospect, which can be spurred by follow-on learning or naturally through the course of work – this is important to allow learning to sink before action. A digital learning program enables the unification of the three – learn, retrospect/introspect with opportunity for Action as learning is embedded and can situate right on the job.
There is however, more opportunity for improved learning when these women share their experiences in a defined co-mentorship program and hold periodic lunch-and-learn leadership sessions so they can Crowdsource experiences drawn from learning. Since behaviour building takes time – it is important to allow refreshers and Repeats with support from business partners for expedited and consistent results.
HR/Execs should take the lead in educating the workforce about gender biases as they strive to create an all-inclusive leadership identity.
Below are some valuable tips for women to develop leadership presence and identity:
- Focus on substance rather than perception
- Don’t be afraid to raise your profile
- Stop trying to be one of the boys
- Overcome insecurities and fears by being decisive, confident and emotionally intelligent
- Take action to counter bias when you encounter it at work
|Modupe Thomas Owoseni