05 March 2018 | Julie Kortens
Julie Kortens, an honorary fellow of the BIFM, discusses how women should feel more empowered to build on their strengths to progress in their career.
Why do we still hear so many aspiring women leaders talking about the obstacles to promotion, rather than the opportunities they have to build on their strengths and to progress in their careers?
In the past few weeks we have celebrated the suffrage movement and all that it achieved for women. But only last autumn a report on FTSE 100 CEOs (by High Pay Centre and CIPD) mentioned there were more men named David and Steve among top CEOs than female chief executives.
Fifty years ago there wouldn't have been any women there at all. We should be building on progress made and the great work these role models have achieved and continue to achieve.
There are a huge number of successful women in business and we need to follow in their footsteps, believing that, given equal opportunity, there is no reason why we can't succeed.
Each of us has aspirations and personality. There are many different leadership styles and, invariably, women lead differently from men. But this does not make them less effective.
Women may face particular challenges in the workplace and at home, but personal action plans will help them overcome these while building credibility as a leader. It's essential that they focus on their own, authentic, leadership style if they are going to realise their potential.
Women (like men) will benefit from effective and supportive networks and must learn how to play 'politics' in a positive way and increase their visibility.
Women communicate differently and often deal with conflict in different ways but, with confidence, they will be able to break through real and perceived barriers.
Talking such issues through with trusted friends, family, professional coaches and mentors will help. You are not alone. There are people ahead, behind and alongside you on your journey to success.
As Maya Angelou says: "A friend may be waiting behind a stranger's face."
Julie Kortens is owner/MD Konnected People, director at The Mentoring Business, and an honorary fellow of BIFM
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