Know your place, woman: 11 ways everyone can encourage female leadership

Be the change you want to see, says Heather Jackson

About 6 years ago I was attending leadership conferences across the UK, and noticed women made up only 5-10% of the attendees and I questioned why leading women were not attracted to these types of events.

From that, The Women’s Business Forum was born, with the vision that over 5 years we would incorporate leading men and create a conference that was not just about having the right mix of gender and diverse leaders represented on the stage, but in the room too, and by doing so in terms of leadership we could help drive forward the change we want to see. Here we are in 2015 getting ready to launch the world’s first gender balanced leadership conference, The Balanced Business Forum.

Through our programmes at An Inspirational Journey I’ve spoken to many men and women who have been heavily challenged by leadership, electing executives and attracting talent. Here are some of the things I’ve learnt over the last 5 years.

1.      Don’t run before you can walk

If you’re looking to be a non-executive, spend time researching the companies you are interested in. Understand the types of leaders that sit on those boards.

2.      Joining a board of executives is a two way street, women have to aspire to do so

The news cycle keeps repeating with quotas of how we must get women onto boards. I think this goes deeper than that. This is about how we inspire young women to also want to be an executive.

3.      Raise the flag

We need get more women to raise the flag, showing their intent to get into the executive.

4.      Visibility

Become more visible, stake your claim.

5.      Get a sponsor

Not many people know this, but employees with a sponsor are 10% more likely to get the promotion. One of our key themes for The Balanced Business Forum is being the change you want to see. So get a sponsor and become a sponsor.

6.      Listen

Listen to hear not to respond. No-one is expecting you to have all the solutions in the first meeting. Take the time to listen and observe other characters.

7.      Add value

When you’re comfortable and ready to speak do so, think about adding value to the conversation

8.      A balanced approach

Men need to encourage other men to support women.

9.      Build the pipeline

Men can help build the pipeline by offering sponsorship and mentoring.

10.  Surround yourself with the best

Talent management is better people seeking out better people.

11.  Be the change you want to see

Women need to help men and men need to help women.

Heather Jackson is Founder and Chair of An Inspirational Journey and The Balanced Business Forum.



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Readers' comments (2)

  • Equality is just about here anyway - we are now seeing more women in power who just are just as incompetent as their male counterparts! Women no longer have to be the very best of the best to get promoted.....

    Equality does have its downsides!

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  • This article is very educative and I will call it 11 commandants for persuit of progress of employees be it man or women . To be me , it comes in category of Leadership Lessons. Simply impressive !!!!

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