What are you doing to Take Charge of your leadership development?
A recent McKinsley Global Survey entitled, Moving Women To The Top, reports that there is significant value in having gender diversity in senior levels of management. While the majority of senior executives surveyed believe that having women on their senior teams improves financial success, few companies have taken action to prepare women for these positions.
Women who want to get to the next level need to take charge of their leadership development, rather than wait for their company to set gender diversity as a strategic priority. Working with other women in your company or across organizations to leverage your strengths will build your readiness for your next promotion. Consider these 4 initial steps to taking charge of your leadership development:
Know What You Want:
If you're considering joining a group to get to the next level of leadership, it's important to get clear on what you want and need from the group. Different groups serve different purposes. Consider where you will receive the most value at this stage in your career.
Are you looking to expand your network within your profession or across professions? Getting connected with other women is a great way to build your network and learn about opportunities. To see a return on the time you invest in attending a breakfast or speaking event, however, you need to follow up: Commit to scheduling a 1:1 meeting with one or two people you've met at the event. Taking 30 minutes to explore the support you can provide to each other is the true value of networking.
What kind of support do you want? What support will you provide? If you want to know more about a career path or what it's like to work in a particular organization, be clear about your request. Equally important is your ability to listen carefully to identify the other person's needs and identify where you can provide information or support.
Do you need to develop your capacity to lead others? If you're looking for leadership development, ensure this is included as a priority in the group description and goals. Know whether leadership topics are prescribed or if the group will work to identify common topics to explore.
Do Your Homework:
Ensure you find the right group to meet your needs by asking the right questions:
What experience and qualifications does the group facilitator have?
Ask to interview current group members to determine what their needs are and the extent to which participation in the group has met their needs.
Ask to review the group handbook and sample agendas
Ask respected colleagues for recommendations
What do you need to do to ensure you are able to attend all sessions and fully participate?
Ensure Accountability & Confidentiality are in Place
Many groups meet on a monthly basis and, after awhile, it can feel like the same issues are being rehashed over and over again. Ensure the group you join has a method in place for holding people accountable for delivering on their promises.
Participation in any group experience needs to be safe and respectful. Consider what needs to be in place to for you to discuss a highly sensitive issue with the group.
Get Company Support
Most companies are at a loss as to how to support women in preparing for the next level. By taking charge of your own leadership development, you provide solutions for both the executive team and a roadmap for other women to follow.
Provide detailed information to your supervisor including the cost, benefits, and time you will need to be released from your duties to participate in the program. While many companies are willing to pay the required fees and support leadership development at all levels, few women consider making this request.
Where there are a significant number of women in an organization, consider "in-house" solutions where you invite women from across your organization to participate in a confidential group process to meed development needs. Use the following sample agenda to get your own group started:
Please contact Gail Daniels for more information and support in professional development for women.
About Gail Daniels
Gail is accomplished at supporting organizations by providing the right set of planning tools and best practice processes to develop, map, document and follow through to execution of the Strategic Direction, Priorities and Actions. She is passionate about supporting and developing leaders to confidently lead people to inspired performance and results. Gail holds a MA Counselling Psychology and a Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching from Royal Roads University. Gail is an avid learner who actively explores the relevance of neuroscience and emotional intelligence in leadership.