Women’s Leadership Development Programs

Women’s leadership development matters! As the powerfully inspiring late Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”

With more women acquiring higher education than ever before, the opportunity to drive greater women’s leadership in organizations is huge. But it is rife with challenges as well, especially that of the ‘Hollow Middle’. It is well known that large numbers of women drop out at mid- management level, leaving few women to promote internally and accentuating the shortage of senior women leaders as role models.

Cultural, individual and organizational factors come together causing women at the mid- management level mostly to drop out/stall in their careers. Cultural factors such as societal expectations, unconscious biases and organizational factors such as pay parity and flexible working options which impede development of women’s leadership must be addressed through intensive, sustained communication, training and policy initiatives.

However, there are also factors at the individual level which need to be addressed – the transition related challenge of women leaders. This can help in bringing about genuine women’s leadership development. The particular challenges of developing women leaders at the mid-career level are:

  • The ‘Hollow Middle’ – Starting at the manager level, there are significantly fewer women to promote from within and to hire from outside. So even though hiring and promotion rates improve at senior levels for women, there is still a significant catch up required.
  • Lack of role models – As the pyramid of women rising to leadership positions gets narrower, those at the bottom have fewer role models to look up to and be inspired by.
  • Inability to tap into and articulate a ‘voice’ /clarity around career aspirations at the individual level

Women’s Leadership Development Programs – Interventions to strengthen the Pipeline of Women Leaders, addresses the above problems at the individual and organizational level. It is not just another diversity initiative – but a focused effort at preparing Hi-Potential women managers and leaders for the next level.  This is a pivot point in ensuring real diversity and inclusion, because the chances of leakage of female talent in organizations is also highest at the mid-career level.

HOW OUR WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM IS DIFFERENT : Most initiatives for preparing women leaders focus largely on the functional challenges of leadership such as improving their business acumen through more sophisticated understanding of strategy, financial reporting and monitoring, negotiating and gaining influence. However, it is our experience (including of personally having grown as women leaders) of working with women leaders, that at the crucial transition point of going from mid-management to senior leadership, emotional preparation and self-awareness are as important to address. This ensures deep and lasting leadership capability enhancement for women.

Who should join our Women's Leadership Development Programs

Women in mid-senior roles. Our programs are suited for women who

  • have been identified as high-potential leaders or cross-functional leaders
  • are seeking to enhance their leadership skills, and demonstrate strong drive to reach the top of their organisation
  • have a minimum 10 years of professional work experience

Most of the women leaders in our programs tend to be functionally, emotionally at a Transition point, where significant career decisions and changes in own leadership style are waiting to be made . In our conversations with several mid-management level women, some of the things we have heard about their experience and the difficulty of growing to the next level of leadership are

      “I am not sure what kind of role I want and even if I do, if the organization will support me.”

  “I want to understand my own working style and that of others better, so that I can be more effective.”

   “I want to learn to feel powerful – even though I know that I can deliver and have delivered, I still don’t demonstrate that. I want to be able to change that”

 

Key takeaways for Women's Leadership Development program participants

The key takeaways from our Women’s Leadership Development program are in the areas of Self Awareness, System Awareness and strong connections within and across the organization leading to:

  • Clarity and energy around next steps – learn to articulate one’s Personal Purpose, uncover personal narratives, patterns & strong suits, understand barriers and dilemmas impeding your development
  • Managerial and leadership skills for the next level – how to focus on Results, design & improvise interfaces, roles, structures to create a high performance culture, how to deal with Ambiguity & focus on strategic issues, Influence & stakeholder management
  • Career development plan – how to animate your personal brand, identifying high impact projects which are aligned to career vision and a roadmap with milestones for such projects

Key takeaways for the organization

Organizations too get positively impacted through women’s leadership development. According to research by McKinsey & Co, women leaders tend to apply the leadership behaviours that improve organizational performance more often than men do, enhancing organizational health and hence sustained performance.

Such behaviours, including inspiration, participative decision making, people development and role modeling are also more relevant for solving future global challenges.

Our interventions for strengthening women leadership capability, by addressing both functional and emotional challenges of leadership lead to the following benefits for the organization

  • An engaged and more effective talent pool of women leaders – women leadership program participants grow in confidence, executive presence, communication, influence and decision making skills, allowing them to deliver results more impactfully

 

  • Clear career track for growing women leaders – our programs help women leaders clarify their core strengths, skills and career direction. This enables them to chart out their career track and clearly see roles and parts of the organization where they can add value and create maximum impact.

The Process

Our women’s leadership development programs use a powerful, experiential methodology that truly works. The programs entail workshops, 1-1 coaching and peer coaching which are based on extensive leadership development research, neuroscience, positive psychology enabling the following:

  • Finding/clarifying career and personal aspirations
  • Identifying and plugging knowledge and skill gaps towards meeting the above aspirations
  • Working on energy flows and blocks and learning practices to support continuous movement towards  aspirations
  • Deep connect and support from a cohort who are also in this journey
  • Tracking and measuring organizational factors which will enable greater real diversity and inclusion