Helping women achieve their leadership potential
When women are put into leadership and management positions, everyone benefits. Decades of social studies from across the globe have shown that female leaders increase productivity, improve collaboration and inspire positive organisational change. One recent report by McKinsey & Company found that, throughout the UK, greater gender diversity on an executive board corresponded to higher performance. In monetary terms, the company found that for every 10% increase in gender diversity, earnings before interest and taxes increased by 3.5%.
Despite this blueprint for success, only 2.6% of businesses in Cambridge are female-led. And across other part of the UK, women still, as you can probably already guess, form a minority in leadership positions.
Gender disparities are also more apparent in certain industries, like technology and logistics. According to a report from Accenture and Girls Who Code, half of young women who go into tech jobs leave by age 35, giving them no time to develop into effective leaders and progress to management positions. This particularly rings true in a city like Cambridge, which has been dubbed the “silicon fen”.
While the situation is slowly improving, it is still a significant issue. Today, all too often, women face challenges with harmful and inaccurate stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination which prevent them from forming the basis for brilliant future leadership. With a lack of female role models and mentors, there is a kind of perpetuating cycle of reduced inspiration and motivation for the next generation of young women to move up the ranks.
So, what can be done, not only to attract women into leadership and management positions, but to retain them so that they can make businesses more effective? Specialist training holds the key. One example is psychometric testing – a tool used by employers to assess intelligence, abilities, potential and personality. Psychometric tests, like Insights Discovery, based on the long-standing psychology of Carl Jung, can help people understand their leadership style, their strengths, and the value they bring to the team.
When armed with this information, individuals can interact more effectively, recognise and value different leadership approaches, understand how and why people respond differently to situations, and, most importantly, become more self-aware. This is of value to talented and motivated women looking to increase their confidence so that they feel able to pursue leadership and management positions.
More general leadership and management developmental courses are also a vital piece of the puzzle. Effective and engaging leaders promote a positive, inclusive, and energetic environment in which they provide support, structure, and a clear vision to achieve the goals of a business. All these traits, skills and characteristics can be learnt, developed, and fine-tuned over time through regular training so that women can become confident in making bold decisions, taking on risks, and welcoming challenges in male dominated environments.
While training is by no means the silver bullet to overcoming systemic societal issues, and I don’t for a second pretend it is, it can still be used as an effective tool to tackle the problem. When used together, psychometric, and specific leadership training provide the best possible platform for organisations to attract and retain female employees. In doing so, companies can reduce costly staff turnover headaches, become more profitable, and simply become smarter and more successful long-term.