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Developing Female Leaders in the Workplace

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In the past year, 33% of Fortune 500 companies were led by female CEOs. According to Catalyst research, 2019 witnessed a record high with females occupying 29% of senior management roles globally. In North America alone, 31% percent of business leadership positions were filled by women. Trends shows that these statistics are gradually increasing and projected to continue growing. Despite these positive trends in America and across the globe, there is still a need for more women in leadership roles.

At Find Great People (FGP), 65% of employees are women and also hold 50% of the company's leadership and management positions. Aligned with the national statistics and upward trends, it is essential that women are intentionally given opportunities for a path towards growth. In order to do so, certain steps are necessary to ensure the development of this group. Testifying to this point, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, said, “In the future there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”

Here are three beneficial principles to aid in the growth and development of female leaders, in ways that are both easy to implement and scale in various workplace environments:

1. A shared commitment around encouragement:

Frankly, there is a gender difference present within the workplace. Thus, organizations need to encourage this budding group to step into leadership positions. At large, implementing a sense of encouragement begins with culture. An encouraging and positive workplace culture will push women to want to grow and develop, while also permitting them to know and understand that they can fill a role well. Fostering awareness of confidence in succeeding and growing professionally, while maintaining a balanced personal life, is extremely affirmative in developing female talent. Here, encouragement is driven in and from many directions: top down, down up, and across.

2. Disciplined intentionality:

Generally, intentionality should be centered around the development of any employee. For female employees, specifically, defined opportunities and programs must exist in an attractive manner. Companies should ask themselves how and what can we do to gear programs more towards the female workforce so that women desire to be leaders. Being intentional goes beyond mere programs and displays a high degree of care, which is a strong motivational factor.

3. Contagiousness of existing female leaders:

Current female leaders play a crucial role as catalysts for other female employees. These existing leaders create visibility within the workplace through leading by example and exhibiting a balance of professional and personal life. If visibility is present to other female employees, others will follow and aspire to fill similar roles. Current female leaders set a precedent of motivation and influence. These individuals have the opportunity to provide shared experiences that are not only relatable, but also promoting to other women. As outward displays of balance and success, existing female leaders carry immense power as their actions speak and echo loudly. These leaders should mentor and shepherd other women in the process of expanding and strengthening the population of female leaders and talent.