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October 2019
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female talent

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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Generation F: Developing the Female Talent Pipeline for the Future

Organisations seeking to future-proof their talent pipelines are investing in developing and retaining their talented women. There is no doubt that we are moving into a new generation, where a ‘Generation F’ of female talent is being accorded greater attention and recording more successes. In the UK alone, young women outperform men in all subjects and achieve higher academic grades. Female enterprise contributes £130 billion annually to our economy. Companies with the highest level of gender diversity in top management posts outperform their sector in terms of return on equity, operating results and share price growth.

 

Regardless of these growing positive indicators, women remain under-represented at senior levels in many companies. In 2011, just 14 per cent of FTSE 100 directorships were held by women and 22 per cent of senior management positions.

 

Many people have tried to unravel the reasons behind these statistics. There are undoubtedly obvious distinctions between male and female career paths, but there are also more subtle reasons that impact female talent being nurtured, retained and promoted.

 

The first reason is organisational bias. For example, women are expected to demonstrate greater authenticity than their male colleagues, they are more likely to be placed into ‘risky’ management roles, and they are criticised if they adopt male behaviours. All of these factors seem indirectly to cause female talent to falter rather than flourish.

 

The second reason impacting female development is women’s views of themselves. Women in management roles consistently report having lower confidence about their careers. They are less likely to apply for jobs and promotions unless they believe they fully meet all the criteria. The same cannot typically be said of men in organisations.  

 

This combination of organisational bias and women’s perceptions of their capabilities all contribute to companies failing to fully harness the talent and potential of their female employees.

 

At Capp, we are committed to ensuring that we work with organisations, talent leads and emerging female leaders to overcome these barriers.

 

In our experience of working with female talent globally, strengths-based female leadership development helps women to develop their confidence and authenticity. Working with strengths also provides women with a language to define their own leadership brand. Interestingly, the women we work with also report how a strengths focus helps them “to do less, better”, as they stop trying to be good at everything and start focusing on their unique strengths, in service of their specific objectives and career ambitions. 

 

We are often asked whether companies should focus specifically on female talent development. The answer is yes. For us, this is not a question of positive action that counts out men, but more about understanding the differences that exist in the talent pipeline and what needs to be done to manage and overcome them.

 

Developing your emerging female talent is rapidly becoming an organisational imperative. Female leaders represent a startlingly under-developed population of talent and potential. As companies seek to change, this shouldn’t be a knee-jerk reaction to media commentary, but rather a sustained strategy for talent and leadership development that ensures there is an abundant pipeline of future senior female leaders for generations to come.

 

With the emergence of Generation F, the future really is female. It’s time to develop women’s leadership capability and make the most of the potential that female talent everywhere has to offer.

 

What do you think are the key changes that would help companies make the most of female talent and potential? Share your thoughts in the Comment section below.

 

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