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Female Leaders Programme

Saying Yes and Making it Happen – Celebrating International Women’s Day

Posted by: Trudy Bailey, Strengths Consultant

 

International Women’s Day is celebrated again on the 8th March.

 

Are you a woman who is successful in her career and making it happen? Do you really enjoy your job? We would love to learn from the secrets of your success!

 

As a successful woman myself who runs Capp’s female leadership development programmes, it never ceases to amaze me how the same stories are told worldwide. I can share many of them through my own learning – the hard way!

 

One of these stories is about saying yes. We ask for role models who come onto the programme to share their journey with the emerging female leaders: what has worked well, their journey, their strengths and also their top tips for the future growth of these remarkable women. 

 

One of the most common tips shared by these global leaders is “Take a risk and say yes”.  Even so, I have a slight problem with this.

 

We are probably all familiar with the research that women, unlike men, are not likely to ask for pay rises, and will only seek promotions when they can do everything that’s required. Unlike men, who will go for promotion if there is even a small part of the job that they can do!

 

Often, women have become successful through their relentless hard work, and eventually being recognised by managers who put them forward for promotion or recommend their next post.

 

One of the core aspects of our female leaders training is teaching women to recognise their strengths. It may sound obvious, but we can be so busy running a successful career and home that we haven’t stopped to appreciate what we love to do and do well – our strengths.

 

Of our latest 10 programmes, 97% thought Realise2, our strengths identification tool, was an insightful beginning to the programme, and 95% said it helped them maximise their strengths, thereby enabling high performance.

 

So back to this ‘saying yes’.  I am all for taking risks and challenging ourselves in a big way, as this can be when you can really grow, take ownership of something big and expand your reputation.

 

But, next time you are asked to take on extra responsibility, a new role or lead a project, go back to your strengths. Where do you get real energy from? What would you love to do more of? Where do you get your best feedback? If you could carve out your dream job, what would it be? 

 

Take risks by all means, but your confidence and performance comes from your strengths. Success will come if you take a step back and work with your best assets. Sometimes it might be worth a side step to play to your strengths, since you will quickly be able to show off your capabilities.

 

I wouldn’t be here today without stepping into a colleague’s shoes a few years ago when they had broken their foot! I had no idea how to do it, but knew I had the passion and motivation to find out and make it happen!

 

Find out more about our female leadership programmes at capp.co

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Inspiring the Next Generation of Female Leaders – Financial Mail Women’s Forum

Posted by: Alex Linley

 

I’m delighted to share with you Capp Director Nicky Garcea’s latest blog for Financial Mail Women’s Forum, which is all about inspiring the next generation of female leaders:

 

“Thank goodness for the Olympic Games. Jessica Ennis, Victoria Pendleton and Rebecca Adlington are three of the most talked about members of Team GB from the London 2012 Olympic Games, and quite rightly so! Nicky Garcea, director at Capp, leading strengths-based people management consultancy, explores how our environmental surroundings, social norms and expectations create powerful but unwitting subliminal messages which have a huge impact on young women’s career aspirations, choices and subsequently their desire to become successful female leaders….”

 

To read the rest of Nicky’s blog, visit the Financial Mail Women’s Forum website.

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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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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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