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Search Results for: female leaders month

Margaret Thatcher: A Realise2 Strengths Profile

Posted by: Alex Linley

 

Last week saw the funeral of Lady Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister and the first woman to be elected to the position. It’s fair to say that Lady Thatcher divided opinion, in death as in life, and also fair to say that she changed the face of Britain irrevocably through her leadership and politics.

 

What might have been the strengths profile of this ‘grocer’s daughter from Grantham’, who was born in the same town I spent my formative years, and hence always loomed as a presence that was larger than life as I grew up? (Not just the serving Prime Minister, she also happened to have been born in the shop I went past every day on the way to school…)

 

In this blog as part of Realise2 month on The Capp Blog, I offer my informed speculation as to what Lady Thatcher’s Realise2 profile might have been.

 

Lady Thatcher’s realised strengths are probably headed by her Drive (for which we included her as an exemplar in The Strengths Book), and complemented by her Work Ethic, Persistence, Detail, Courage, Personal Responsibility and Moral Compass.

 

She had a ferocious capacity for work that allowed her to master the details of every brief, coupled with the courage and determination to do what she believed was right. Others may not have agreed, but as well as know, she was not for turning!

 

For learned behaviours, I would speculate that Lady Thatcher may have profiled for Centred, Judgement, Order and Strategic Awareness. These are all things she clearly demonstrated, but which one might consider were not the same integral part of her psychological make-up as her realised strengths.

 

For example, consider her address to the Conservative Party conference just hours after the bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton, and you can see how Centred would shine through when she needed to call on it.

 

Lady Thatcher’s weaknesses are perhaps easily recognised, and in many ways, the counterpart to the intensity of her strengths: Empathic Connection, Humility and Service. As speculative as this profile may be, it’s nonetheless noteworthy how these weaknesses are the antithesis of the feminine stereotype that – as the first female Prime Minister, and indeed, one of the first female MPs – she needed to overcome.

 

Yes, reputedly she did serve tea to the Cabinet when meetings went on too long, but contemporaneous reports suggest that even this was a subtle power-play manouvre rather than a reversion to feminine type.

 

For unrealised strengths, my speculative profile becomes even more speculative – primarily because unrealised strengths are, by definition, not fully in view. As such, I have drawn from the strengths that I consider Lady Thatcher demonstrated when she needed to, although perhaps not as frequently over time.

 

These include Resilience, Counterpoint, Action, Resolver, Prevention, Efficacy and Narrator – all of which we can identify in her character, but which are perhaps less consistently on display than her realised strengths that I identified above.

 

Taking the picture of this Realise2 profile overall, we see someone with a remarkable drive and desire to get things done, zealous in her beliefs, and unforgiving of dissent or disagreement in her pursuit of what she believed was right.

 

These were the characteristic strengths that allowed Margaret Thatcher to achieve what she did; ultimately, they were probably also the strengths that, overplayed, led to her downfall. The optimal balance of strengths for strategy and situation is exceptionally difficult to maintain, with the result that rarely do leaders last any length of time through changing epochs.

 

Lady Thatcher was one of the exceptions who proved the rule.

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The Year in Review on The Capp Blog

Posted by: Alex Linley

 

The Capp Blog launched this year with our first blog post on 17 January 2012. It has been a busy year since then, with 31,514 views of 164 items.

 

Here are five of the most viewed posts that showcase The Capp Blog at its best:

 

#1 – As part of our Performance Management series, Reena Jamnadas and Emma Trenier answered the question What Do Employees Want from Their Managers? As the most read blog of the year, clearly this was a question that you, our readers of The Capp Blog, wanted to answer as well.

 

#2 – Our feature on School Leavers Fortnight in August generated loads of interest, with Reena Jamnadas again leading the way with The Defining Power of Three Small Letters: Helping Students with their A-level Results.

 

#3 – Sharing our learning and development expertise through the lens of positive psychology, my blog On Learning to Learn: Four Positive Psychology Principles had readers re-imagining their own approaches to learning and development.

 

#4 – Throughout June, we ran Female Leaders Month on The Capp Blog, with Nicky Garcea leading the way with her blog Can Only Superwomen Make it to the Top?, originally published on the Financial Mail Women’s Forum.  

 

#5 – Completing our top five of 2012 was my blog on Student Strengths Insights and Strengths-based Graduate Recruitment. This reported the results of the Ernst & Young-Capp Student Strengths Survey, showcasing our work as the leading strengths-based graduate recruiter in the UK.

 

With these blogs – and many more – throughout 2012, we hope you will agree that it has been a great inaugural year for The Capp Blog.

 

We promise to bring you more insights, expertise and entertainment over the next year, but in the meantime, we wish every single reader of The Capp Blog a peaceful Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

 

Enjoy your festivities and we’ll be in touch again in 2013!

 

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The Women at Work Survey

Posted by: Alex Linley & Nicky Garcea

 

Following on from Female Leaders Month on The Capp Blog, in August we launched Capp’s Women at Work Survey – and if you’re a working woman, we’d love to invite your participation. You can still access the Women at Work Survey here.

 

We are interested in understanding more about why as a woman you do what you do at work, your achievements, your career progression and role models, the advice you may need, your learning and the legacy you would want to see for other women.

 

As a thank you to all the women who complete the Women at Work Survey, we will enter you into our prize draw for an iPad 3 or three runner up prizes of a Spa Day. We will also give all our respondents a sneak preview of our findings and results before they are published more widely.

 

Thank you – we’re keen to collect responses from as diverse a working female population as possible – so please pass on this invitation to your female colleagues, friends and family as widely as possible.

 

We appreciate it!

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Doing Less with Your Strengths: A Woman’s Secret

Posted by: Trudy Bailey

 

So, the pressure is on us women to ‘do it all’ and as we juggle demands to satisfy this, we find ourselves still continuing to add more ‘stuff’ into our day (ok, into the night as well).  Some days, you wonder how you got through it and, if you are anything like me, you feel like a day’s work has been done before arriving at the office. You look around to see if any of the other women are feeling as frazzled as you are. You apply another coat of concealer and gloss, feeling slightly inadequate as you sip your extra shot skinny cappuccino and wait for the effects.

 

But with this being the turn of the season as many women return from holiday and start to gear up for the final few months of the year, we have an opportunity to see – for once – about how we can do less, but more effectively.

 

In Capp’s Female Leaders Programme, Nicky gives some great strategic advice relating to how we can align our strengths as an emerging leader – I resonate with it all. I will share with you something practical tips about ‘doing less’ as you employ your strengths, as I confess to a little more practice at juggling! Here are some of my Realise2 strengths and top tips for real progression and ‘me time’.

 

Judgement – I make good decisions and accept this. Perhaps as a woman who wants it all, there was a time for prolonged guilt as a result of not ‘serving’ a particular individual or, the time I had made available for others.  There is no looking back, only pride in the decision to make a difference to those to whom I offered guidance.

 

Authenticity – I do what I feel is right for all concerned, and that even includes me! I know I can outperform my peers in the areas that energise me, so I recognise this and only look for praise and promotion in areas I wake up excited by. I become more resilient to challenges at work when I know that I am leading in a way which is right for me.

 

Persuasion & Counterpoint – Having been told when I was younger that I was always trying to get my own way, I know how to fully use these strengths to my advantage! I look for ways to make a difference to the organisation that have not been thought of before, and to be controversial. I love to challenge and to have passion in the process of winning people over to my ideas. This then gives me the autonomy to take ownership of the project and get noticed quicker than others.

 

Humour & Enabler – I know I want to have as much impact as I can with my two children in the relatively short time I spend with them. Being an Enabler with Humour means that I can not only support and encourage them at school, but also bring us closer together as we laugh about the challenges they have faced in their day. The homemade reward chart certainly enables the children to earn their pocket money, and cuts down my to-do list rather nicely! I can also create quicker ways to establish enduring memories with my Humour, as I challenge them to be as daft as me! Think about using the Enabler in you to create that ‘village of support’ that we all need.

 

Service – When I first completed Realise2, Service was in my top three and it now sits rather happily at number eight. Service has a tendency to be overplayed as we search for ways to be recognised. You will find climbing the success ladder far easier if you can engage more specifically and purposefully with your strengths, rather than being ‘well rounded’ in a more generalised sense.

 

Planful (a weakness of mine) – I have learned to adopt a strengths-based partnership philosophy at home. Once being slightly distracted by my partner’s strength in Detail, I now take full advantage as he enjoys some elements of housework!

 

Although, of course, you may not share all of the elements of my strengths profile, you can look to your own Realised and Unrealised Strengths in a different way.

 

From today, make the most of your post-holiday reflections to see how these final few months of the year can be different to those that preceded them, as you start to do less and enjoy more.

 

Follow the link to find out more about Capp’s Female Leaders Programme.

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An Invitation to all Working Women – The Women at Work Survey

Posted by: Alex Linley & Nicky Garcea

 

Following on from Female Leaders Month on The Capp Blog, we are delighted to launch Capp’s Women at Work Survey – and if you’re a working woman, we’d love to invite your participation. You can access the Women at Work Survey here.

 

We are interested in understanding more about why as a woman you do what you do at work, your achievements, your career progression and role models, the advice you may need, your learning and the legacy you would want to see for other women.

 

As a thank you to all the women who complete the Women at Work Survey, we will enter you into our prize draw for an iPad 3 or three runner up prizes of a Spa Day. We will also give all our respondents a sneak preview of our findings and results before they are published more widely.

 

Thank you – we’re keen to collect responses from as diverse a working female population as possible – so please pass on this invitation to your female colleagues, friends and family as widely as possible.

 

We appreciate it!

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Celebrating Female Leaders Month

Posted by: Nicky Garcea and Alex Linley (as part of Capp’s Female Leaders Month, June 2012)

 

As we come to end of Female Leaders Month we hope you have enjoyed our blogs. We know from your feedback that the role of harnessing your power bases, realising your strengths and overcoming subliminal sexism has struck chords with many of you.

 

Our commitment to developing the Generation F of future female talent does not end here.

 

We are delighted as this month draws to a close to be able to share with you the launch of our Female Leaders Programme. This programme has been designed to harness the unique and impactful combination of strengths and power base development, helping female leaders to maximise the opportunities that are open to them by building on the capabilities they have.

 

In July, we will also be launching our Women in Leadership survey, designed to explore more about many of the issues that have been raised by our blogs and your comments throughout Female Leaders Month. We hope you will join us in completing this survey and help us further shape the women in leadership debate.

 

To receive regular female leadership updates, you are also invited to  follow Nicky on Twitter, @NickyGarcea

 

As we sign off for the month, we have 7 Top Tips for Female Leaders, that summarise the advice we have shared across Female Leaders Month:

 

1. Take confidence from your strengths: know what you’re good at and what energises you – and use it!

 

2. Maximise your unrealised strengths: align them to your future career goals and aspirations

 

3. Harness your power: influence decisions and outcomes to help you get what you want

 

4. Be courageous: with your choice of mentor and sponsor, don’t shy away from seeking someone with status

 

5. Think before you speak: eradicate unnecessary apologetic language from your daily interactions and particularly in meetings

 

6.  Tilt more than balance: say yes to the things that draw on your strengths and reduce the time  you spend on non-critical weaknesses

 

7. Hold out your hand: through your behaviours and actions, you can play your part to open the door for the female talent of tomorrow.

 

We hope that the themed blogs of Female Leaders Month have inspired you to do more to celebrate and develop female talent. Watch out for future blogs on these issues on The Capp Blog, and please share your comments and experiences by using the Comment function below.

 

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It’s Time to Stand Up for the ‘F’ Word

Posted by: Nicky Garcea, as part of Capp’s Female Leaders Month (June 2012)

 

My grandmother, Joy, is 89. She is a fierce advocate of women voting; she also believes you should never tell your husband who you voted for. She remembers the suffragettes, she remembers women starving and dying for the vote, she is not afraid to call herself a feminist.

 

Today, things have come a long way from the early years of what my grandmother remembers. Personally, it wasn’t until I took my first consulting role that I started to notice that there were fewer women in the organisations I visited. One Sunday evening in the business class lounge at Charles de Gaulle it dawned on me, ‘I am the only woman, other than air stewardess, boarding this flight’.

 

I can’t accept any more that things are the same for women in business as they are for men. I am committed to shamelessly supporting and nurturing female talent. The following blog, published in Training Journal, asks whether it is time for more of us to stand up for the ‘F’ word.

 

When Annie Lennox addressed business leaders on the centenary of international women day on 8 March 2011, she asked all the feminists to stand. The room’s response was stillness, few women stood and supported ‘feminism’. Despite the support for feminism growing internationally at a political level, it is something which UK female business leaders seek to disassociate themselves from.

 

Frequently, women are apprehensive when offered female specific development, reluctant at the thought of attending a programme that might label them as ‘different’ or that would single them out. So there is a growing tension in organisations between wanting to develop women and support their progression, while at the same time not doing it in a way that is overtly ‘feminine’ or ‘feminist’.

 

The danger of not developing emerging female talent is that nothing will change and the workforce will not evolve. In Karren Brady’s autobiography Strong Woman, Brady references how on International Women’s Day each year, she attends an event hosted at Downing Street and typically she sees the same faces year on year.

 

This happens in business, and is something we see time and time again. In Capp’s Female Leaders Programme, we have a ‘Learn from the Leader’ speaker slot, and in most organisations where this is run, there are only one or two senior females who can fill this slot!

 

So what can we do? How can we change this?

 

Firstly, I think we have to know the facts. Male employees are still leading the way in personal development and career progression, while little support is given to younger women to advance the career ladder. Despite more women graduating with MBA’s, far fewer actually make it into work. And, with many companies and public sector organisations currently re-organising, it is the female talent pipeline being hit the hardest.

 

In difficult economic times, budgets to support female talent development are either non-existent or are being significantly squeezed, but this shouldn’t be a business’ excuse for doing nothing. A combination of well-informed leaders and managers and strengths-based self-support for emerging female leaders can be a successful development fusion.

 

In our view, three groups of people can champion female talent development:

 

Leaders:

 

Specifically set out to sponsor the development of several of the emerging female leaders in your organisation. Be aware of the women around you that would benefit from your mentorship or sponsorship. Let them know why you will sponsor them and what they can expect from you.

 

Recent research by Harvard University found that women consistently seek out mentors and sponsors of less power and status than their male colleagues, instantly limiting their access to the most senior individuals in an organisation. So the more senior you are, the lower you might consider reaching down into your talent pipeline; it will have the longest sustainable impact.

 

Managers:

 

Be aware that women will typically behave differently than their male colleagues when it comes to approaching their development. Research conducted by the Institute of Leadership and Management on senior leaders, found that half of women surveyed experienced feelings of self-doubt about their performance and career, but only 31 per cent of men reported the same. The research also revealed that women tend not to put themselves forward for promotion: 20 per cent of men said they would apply for a role despite only partially meeting its job description, compared to only 14 per cent of women. Couple this with studies from Aston University which highlight that women are more apologetic in meetings and that managers have a critical role to play in developing women’s confidence and offering regular feedback on influencing styles and profile.

 

Women:

 

Know your strengths and power.

 

Early in our careers we often can get bogged down ‘gap filling’, focusing on weaknesses. Although critical areas for development shouldn’t be ignored, this shouldn’t be to the detriment of excelling the development of strengths.

 

Be aware that investing in developing your strengths will impact your confidence, self-esteem and capacity to achieve your goals. Similarly, studies have also shown that when women understand their different power bases, they are better able to use them than their male colleagues.

 

This ultimately will mean that although business is more competitive, strengths and power base development offer you a winning combination for success.

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Can Only Superwomen Make it to the Top?

Posted by: Nicky Garcea, as part of Capp’s Female Leaders Month (June 2012)

 

You just gave your power away.”

 

I can remember being mortified the first time someone said this to me. Upset because they were right, and embarrassed because I was oblivious to what I had done. Researching and studying power bases has made me far more attuned to the behavioural ticks that can trip me up and undermine my leadership.

 

Like many women, I was a serial apologiser: “I’m sorry”, “I might be wrong, but …”, “Forgive me if I’m not right …”, “I don’t mean to…” The apologies just tripped of my tongue without me even realising what I was doing.

 

It was actually the combined efforts and forthright feedback from my Dad, and fellow Capp Director, Alex, who supported me in kicking my ‘sorry habit’. I now know there is more to power than just reclaiming what we give away, so much more.

 

I hope you read my Financial Mail blog and find there are many power bases that you can use to make yourself stronger, and recognise also that sometimes you really can be Superwoman on your way to the top. The blog is published on the Financial Mail Women’s Forum - I hope you enjoy it!

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Where Should We Find the Women? Overcoming the Unwitting Sexism that Surrounds Us (Part 4)

Posted by: Nicky Garcea and Alex Linley, as part of Capp’s Female Leaders Month (June 2012)

 

In our blog posts over the course of this week, we have explored the role of subliminal messaging and unconscious bias in creating the impression of the social roles that women should take in society.

 

These subliminal messages and unconscious biases are all the more pernicious for this very reason – because they are subliminal and unconscious. But the real opportunity is to harness their power, turning it to our advantage through acknowledging and celebrating the role of women in our society.

 

While we can’t re-write history, we can ensure that our future female generations are not so overtly subjected to the absence of celebrated and successful women in the environments in which they grow up.

 

Here are a handful of ideas for how this could happen.

 

1. The media should be challenged with ensuring that women are appropriately represented across their content. When no sportswomen are put forward for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, it sends the message that no woman was worthy. Are we really saying that half of our sporting population simply wasn’t good enough – and the entire female half at that?

 

2. Public platforms and other profile events should be encouraged to take on the mantle of championing female achievement and success, as a counterweight to rebalance the weight of the subliminal messages that otherwise exist. Can we work that bit harder to acknowledge, celebrate and remember the work of female role models in everyday life? This can happen in the media, in schools, by parents, in communities and within the world of business. Who are the successful women in your family, in your community, in your network? Take active steps to celebrate them, share their names and achievements, and recognise their successes as a first step to inspiring other women to do the same. After all, men have had the benefit of this subliminal inspiration for generations.

 

3. Companies and organisations should recognise that there is an explicit need specifically to support and develop women. Women should be offered more opportunities to develop early in their careers. They should be helped to understand how they can equip themselves to influence with power and impact, recognising the challenges they might face, but also embracing the opportunities to develop, to change and to make a positive difference.

 

4. Calling all town planners and building developers. What would it take for a few of our future streets to celebrate more women, for example, ‘Dame Kelly Holmes Drive’,  ‘Tessa Sanderson Street’, ‘Rebecca Adlington Way’, ‘Jessica Ennis Avenue’? Will we see this in our lifetime? With the further re-development of east London following the London 2012 Olympics, what a great opportunity we have for an Olympic legacy that goes beyond sport, building a legacy to great British women as well.

 

5. Women should be champions of helping other women. There is the well-recognised ‘Old Boys’ Network’ that makes things happen for men. In the 21st Century, isn’t it time that we started to develop the ‘Young Women’s Network’ to support making things happen for women? Unfortunately, women being champions of other women doesn’t happen enough. But now, with the leadership of female figureheads including Karren Brady, the momentum for change is building…

 

With these five ideas, our aim was to get your thinking started. What else would you add to this list? Let us know by sharing your Comments on The Capp Blog, and watch out for future posts as we build more on this hugely important topic.

 

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Where are the Women Conference Speakers? The Unwitting Sexism that Surrounds Us (Part 3)

Posted by: Alex Linley, as part of Capp’s Female Leaders Month (June 2012)

 

I have just returned from a fabulous two days at Le Web in London. Organised and hosted by Geraldine and Loic Le Meur, Le Web is recognised as one of the most exciting internet and technology conferences around. This was no exception, with contributions from people like Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram, Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote, Niklas Zennstrom, CEO and Founding Partner of Atomico Partners (but perhaps better known to date for founding Skype) and Martha Lane Fox, our very own UK Digital Champion.

 

Nudged by Sarah Szalavitz, writing in Wired magazine (04.12, p. 65), I was interested in the question of “Where are the women conference speakers?” A quick tally up of the speakers at Le Web suggests 70 male conference speakers relative to 9 female speakers, and 27 male interviewers relative to 4 female interviewers (Le Web uses a great combination of presentations, together with lots of interviews on Loic’s famous sofa).

 

Let me be very clear: this isn’t a rant about Le Web – the conference was as superb as ever. But it is another opportunity for us to look at the subliminal messages that surround us about women, and about what women can and can’t do, and should and shouldn’t do – at least as suggested by these subliminal messages.

 

By my very rough estimation, the proportion of male to female conference speakers (7:1) was maybe only slightly lower than the proportion of male to female delegates (I’m guessing at 6:1), but it does make it even more important that we give visibility to female conference speakers who can engage, educate, entertain and inspire their peers together with an emerging generation of female talent.

 

To this end, Caroline Ghosn, CEO and Co-Founder of The Levo League deserves a special mention. The Levo League is an online community for Gen Y professional women, designed to help them through modern career challenges and development, so a great platform to address some of the very challenges that we are exploring as part of Female Leaders Month at Capp.

 

Martha Lane Fox – whom many of you will know from lastminute.com fame – also deserves a special mention, not only as an inspiring woman herself, but as someone working to inspire under-served populations in the UK through the power of the internet and modern technology. Working with the UK government, Martha Lane Fox is also helping the internet transform public service provision – a topic being spearheaded by the fantastic Mike Bracken, Executive Director of Digital, and one person who is restoring my faith in government to get caught up to the 21st Century.

 

And to complete the credits, I’d love to take this opportunity to acknowledge the other female speakers at Le Web, in the hope that it encourages more women in technology to step forward and showcase their own talents. Respect to:

 

Sandy Carter, Vice President, Social Business Sales and Evangelism, IBM Corporation

Sonia Carter, Head of Digital, Kraft Foods Europe

Soraya Darabi, Co-Founder, Foodspotting

Carla Henry, Yves Saint Laurent Beauty and Fragrances (L’Oreal Luxe)

Madlen Nicolaus, Senior Marketing & Community Manager, Salesforce Radian6

Maria Poveromo, Director, Social Media Systems, Adobe Systems, Inc.  

Rebecca Quinn, Director of EU Strategy & Operations, Wildfire Interactive

 

I hope they serve to inspire the many talented women in the world to stand up and take every opportunity they can to showcase their own talents, and in turn, to inspire other women to do the same.

 

It’s only by doing so that we will be able to start to overcome the subliminal messages that otherwise undermine our intent and ambition, often without us even realising. It’s time for us to change that.

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