The Center for American Progress states in this Fact sheet: The Women’s Leadership Gap that women are 58% of the population but that they hold only 14.6 percent of executive officers, 8.1 percent of the top earners and 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs.
If you are a woman leader or a high potential woman, what can you start doing now to move into those leadership roles?
You can start by:
- Build your network and your influencing skills
- Get a mentor and a coach
- Take some calculated risks
Building your network inside and outside your organization will allow you to gather knowledge, learn to partner and collaborate, get information to be more strategic and efficient as well as know your business partners when and if the occasion calls for helping each other, or request some support during times of celebration as well as challenging time.
If you hope to grow in your leadership as a woman, get a mentor — two or three if necessary. Some of the leaders I work with will get a mentor on how to prepare a presentation, while others will focus on getting career support or strategic understanding. Getting a coach is always helpful, especially to understand how you are being perceived in the organization. The coaching can come from your manager and/or an internal or external coach. Getting a 360 Assessment and doing one or two assessments such as the HBDI and the Hogan Assessment could help you understand your personality and your style as well as what motivates you. Finally, setting specific goals and having support in reaching those goals is very satisfying and improves one leadership.
Some women tend to hold back vs. taking risks. If this is the case for you, start taking some risks. If you know you usually know the answers but tend to not be the first one to speak, go ahead and practice sharing your opinions early in meetings. If you’ve wanted to get a raise, learn to ask for it. If you have great ideas that could improve efficiencies, goals or plans, make your suggestions.
One great book I recommend is Mika Brzezinski’s book Knowing Your Value.
Life is moving at a faster pace every day and there is a leadership gap. See what inspires you to make a difference in that gap by starting to network, getting a mentor and/or a coach, and taking a couple of risks.