Authour: TACY BYHAM, PH.D.
It will still be 170 years until women achieve economic parity on a global scale, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Gender Gap Report.
Despite such incredible progress, there’s no doubt that the glass ceiling is still intact. According to a study by Catalyst, women comprise 53 percent of entry-level workers, but at each level of leadership, there are fewer and fewer women. Women make up only 40 percent of managers, 35 percent of directors and 19 percent of C-suite members. And the portion of women CEOs in the Fortune 500 is only about 5 percent and has hovered around that number for several years.
At the same time, the business case for women in leadership has never been stronger. DDI’s 2015 Global Leadership Forecast found that companies whose leadership is at least 30 percent women are 12 times more likely to be in the top 20 percent of financial performers. In the same study, however, women cited a lack of opportunities to lead teams and gain global leadership experience as a significant factor holding them back.
Here are four lessons that can help women ignite their impact in the workplace and put themselves on the path to leadership:
1. Think of confidence as a key leadership skill.
Many people point to the gender gap in leadership as a product of a skills gap. For instance, they often assume that men are better at skills such as negotiating or delegating, while they associate women with skills such as communication and planning. In DDI’s assessments of thousands of leaders, however, it is clear that there is no significant skills gap between men and women leaders, save one: confidence. While there is no evidence that men actually outperform women as leaders, they consistently rate themselves as more effective leaders than their peers. Furthermore, the confidence gap between men and women grows larger as men and women advance to higher levels of leadership.
A lack of confidence can have long-lasting consequences. While men put themselves forward for new challenges, jobs and projects, women may hold back, waiting to be recognized for their hard work. Instead, women need to begin thinking about building their confidence in the same way they focus on building other key leadership skills. In many cases, participating in formal leadership development programs helps to give women confidence that they have the skills to lead.
2. Fail forward.
In an article for the Harvard Business Review, Tara Sophia Mohr (author and creator of the Playing Big Facilitators Training Program) examined the reasons why men and women chose not to apply for jobs for which they were not 100-percent qualified. For both sexes, the top reason was that applicants didn’t want to waste their time if they probably weren’t going to get the job. But notably, the second most common response for women was that they didn’t want to put themselves out there if they were likely to fail.
Failure plays an important role in innovation and leads to real breakthroughs. It’s not about failure; it’s about learning. Women cannot be afraid to fail but should focus on “failing forward.” The key to “failing forward” is seeking and accepting feedback from failures to ensure that they turn into positive lessons to guide future success.
3. Declare yourself early and often.
In her study, Mohr also uncovered that 15 percent of women did not apply for jobs for which they didn’t check off every qualification because they were simply following the guidelines about who should apply. As conscientious rule followers, women often miss the point that merely following the rules is not enough to win the day. While many women wait for opportunities to come to them as a reward for their hard work, men are more likely to position themselves for higher leadership positions.
While everyone needs to declare their readiness for the next step, women often miss the cues about when and how often to remind people of what they can do now and what they want to do in the future. For women, this declarative conversation carries real weight. While they may be struggling to keep their head above water, women need to periodically step away from the fray and declare their readiness as a future leader.
4. Rethink mentorship.
Finding a good mentor is like winning the lottery. Mentors can help women build their network, improve their leadership skills and find new opportunities. But according to the study “Women as Mentors: Does She or Doesn’t She?”, 63 percent of women have never had a mentor. Unfortunately, many women also responded they were too afraid to ask. For example, one female executive said, “It’s like walking up to someone and asking them to be your friend, and no one does that.” Overwhelmingly, however, women leaders reported that they would mentor more if they were only asked.
One way to build more mentorship relationships is to look for micromentors, who give feedback about specific projects or stretch assignments. Micromentors are less about guiding your overall career and more about finding an expert who can help you now. Don’t limit yourself to just women; male mentors also play an important role. Focusing on building a network of micromentors gives you a great excuse to expand your network without feeling like you’re asking someone to “go steady” with you forever.
Because of the small number of women in top leadership positions, it often seems that women are under the microscope. To avoid such intense scrutiny, many women feel that they must be so prepared for the job that it will be impossible to fail. But the ultimate result is that they wait too long to put themselves forward for leadership. Instead, women must have the confidence that they will be able to learn on the job. Admittedly, learning on the job takes courage, but the risks are worth it.
The first action required after any training program is to ascertain if the training met stated objectives. Every training program must have stated objectives before the training. One major purpose of identifying training objectives is to determine the exact knowledge that will be acquired from the training and if properly design, it would contain elements to be measured with clear specifics.
Therefore, the training objectives must be measured against set objectives as post training evaluation to determine if the training actually met the objectives. Did the participants acquire the knowledge? Will they be able to apply the knowledge on their job? Can they also transfer the knowledge? Did the training increase their knowledge?
Get and Use Feedback
Getting feedback is very essential in training as it is a way of measuring success in training. You can do this individually but must importantly ensure that it is immediate. Also, periodic feedback like three to six months interval after a specific training is a good step. This periodic feedback is majorly to know how the training has influenced that particular area of their job and how they are applying the knowledge in their job. Both immediate evaluation and periodic one can be conducted in two ways depending on the structure and time schedules of the organization-
a: Through Individual Conversation and
b: Give them evaluation form to fill.
Questions to ask in any form of evaluating could be, “do you understand what was said at the training?” “Do you still have any specific question in respect to the training?” “How have you been applying the knowledge?”, “Are you experiencing any challenge in applying what you learnt”?
“Do you think the training enhanced your performance?
Avoid wasting of time with employees in applying their newly acquired knowledge. This re-enforces the knowledge and it makes the trained employees realized that, the training was not just a jamboree event rather, one that is critically directed to their performance. One of the ways of doing this is to immediately assign them a task that requires the use of the knowledge acquired, this will go a long way in reinforcing the knowledge for constant usage when needed in achieving excellent delivery.
Beyond The Brain
Several researches by the Ivy Leagues have concluded that Emotional Quotient is more important than Intelligent Quotient. Part of what was established is the fact that 85% of our time is spent on relational activities and only 15 % is spent on technical activities. This means, if we lack the skill of Emotional Intelligence, we have up to 85% chance of not achieving the set goal. It becomes very imperative that achieving training objectives is to ensure that all trainings does not only centered on technical knowledge but also take much cognizance of emotional and relational competencies associated with the technical competencies. The training must get to the head through the heart because everything we do as human is all about feelings.
Pause Factory; the leading training company in Nigeria has mastered the art of soaking any training in emotional intelligence competencies, they deploy Coaching Methodologies and deep self reflective elements in their training which results in Positive Change. Training must not be allowed to continue to be a jamboree, business owners are complaining because they can't see positive change from the trainings.
To conclude, it is vital to note that successful organizations today are those who understand the value of training and use it effectively and efficiently. Most time it is not really about the fund, but knowing what really works partnering with the right training company.
Author Kofoworola Ayodeji for She Lead Africa culled from Bella naija
Emotional Intelligence is the magic wand for your business. If you’re passionate about starting a business that will be highly successful, or trying hard to take your existing business to the next level, then you have to read this.
Various works of research have shown that we need more than knowledge or high Intelligence Quotient (IQ) to really succeed in life; mores, at running a business.
As an entrepreneur, it is important to attend business school, read wide, have a firm grip of your industry, and know what works and what does not. But even more important is having a high Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ). And this is because business in its entirety is all about people; whether you deal in products or services, you’re dealing with people.
Emotional Intelligence has to do with understanding our feelings and those of others. It is that “thing” which determines how we make personal decisions, respond to emotions, interact with people, and sail through social intricacies.
How do you offer the best service possible to your clients when you don’t understand how they feel? Despite what many believe, this form of intelligence comprises a set of skills that can be learned and applied every day.
Let’s take a look at some of these recipes for success.
You need to have emotional self-control
To understand people, it’s important to understand yourself first. You have to have control over your own emotions —the way you react to issues or situations— if you hope to keep your clients, and add many new ones.
Having emotional self-control means you can respond to negative situations rationally rather than emotionally. Don’t forget that people enjoy doing business with someone that is emotionally stable. And that means a lot for the growth of your enterprise.
To have emotional self-control, you have to be aware of your emotions from time to time. For example, the presence of negative emotions like anger, anxiety, pessimism, sadness can weigh you down and take a drastic turn on your business.
But once you’re aware of them, what triggers them, and how they affect you, then they can be put in check over time. I mean you can manage them as much as possible. I know this can be challenging at first, things would always get better with time.
In essence, to move ahead in your business —and even your career— you must stay motivated. And to stay motivated, you have to have control over your emotions.
Adopt listening as a skill
Running a business has everything to do with managing relationships. Yet it is practically impossible to manage relationships without getting to know the concerns or perspectives of others.
The window to the heart of your prospective or existing customers is active listening. Let them tell you what and how they feel about your product or service with a lot of assurance that you care.
Listening goes beyond just hearing someone else. It’s a skill that could be used to set your business —and indeed your life— on the path of great success. From your business partners and investors to clients and staff, you should pay adequate attention to whatever ideas or suggestions they put across to you.
Whether you approve of their ideas or not, make sure to listen with rapt attention and nod in acknowledgement. Why is this essential? People enjoy doing business with someone they like, one who listens to them, their complaints as well as their feedback.
Many business owners are too busy chasing profit without considering the magical power of active listening. They’ve forgotten that when they listen effectively to their customers, they would get more insight into how people view their products or services. And this in some way would hint them as to what and what should be done to make their businesses perform better.
Never underrate the power of listening; it could make a lot of difference in your business.
Showing empathy is the way to go
As an entrepreneur, it’s not enough to listen to those you’re transacting business with, showing care is essential. Think of your customers as yourself. Put yourself in their shoes. Be on the same page as your clients. Ask yourself: if I were the consumer of this product or service, how satisfied would I be?
It’s good to let your business be that ‘person’ whom people are endeared to and are willing to be with no matter what because she cares.
Showing empathy means looking into customers’ complaints with as much urgency as genuineness. It also means sincerely putting your customers first as far as the delivery of your service is concerned.
Emotional Intelligence is the magic wand for your business
Beyond being intelligent and strategic, beyond having a vast knowledge about running a business, there remains a great secret of success that can help you lead effectively in your industry and that’s Emotional Intelligence.
Although some are born with a high level of this form of intelligence, it can be learned. Once you take control of your emotions, use listening as an important skill and show great empathy for your clients, you’re already adopting Emotional Intelligence as a powerful tool to take your business to the next level.
BE A POSITIVE INFLUENCER IN YOUR ORGANISATION Authored by Ifade Olusegun
The truth about leadership is that we are all leaders. The common and simplified definition which is mostly acceptable to everybody irrespective of their field is that, a leader is a person that has an influence over people.
If you are manager, you are a leader, because you have much influence over your subordinate. If you are a subordinate, you have an influence over your supervisor technically; because your performance is an issue to him or her and most time they dissipate time and effort to ensuring you meet certain expectation. Your position demands that they act on you. That is an influence! In fact most managers that are emotionally unstable are at the mercy of their subordinate, since the latter can determine the mood-joy or sadness, his or her line manager should be at a particular time, with a deliberate actions. It could be deliberately submitting report late or failing to meet a target.
Our aim is to ensure that your influential leading is positive, since we all have influence. Therefore, having positive influence over those around us becomes a goal to achieve, as research has showed that, organizations where employees see themselves as a positive influencers are more productive and achieve peak performance in their day- to-day activities and also the employee that see themselves leading right get to the zenith of their career faster than those who don’t.
These are THREE steps to becoming positive influencer as an employee.
The starting point of becoming a positive influencer as an employee is empathy. Empathy is the ability to experience and relate to the thoughts, emotions or experience of others. Empathy is more sensitive than sympathy. This is the ability to situate yourself in others shoes. It means asking yourself questions like, how will you feel as a manager if a subordinate delay this vital report that management is basing their decision on? How will you feel, if nobody is ready to put you through certain task? How will you feel if you are the employer and somebody is not performing right in their job? Will my company get better than the competitors, if I am working at this level of performance? Empathy shows your level of deep care for both the people and organization.
Trending Article BECOMING YOUR ORGANISATION’S COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
You must be ready to do more than you are paid for. Employees that withdraw their best because achieving outstanding result is all about going the extra mile which they believe is not paid for will always have negative influence on people around them and mostly to their manager, because their job will always have an aroma of imperfection. Being known as the goal-getter is about having a positive influence in the organization. When tasks are difficult and require best brain, and you are called to solve it, then you are leading right. Such Employees grow faster in the hierarchy of leadership because they give in their best to solve problems. Remember, if you are willing to do more than you are paid to do, eventually, you will be paid to do more than you do.
Do not be reactive to situations. The ability to be proactive provides a clear advantage in the workplace and most managers expect subordinates to demonstrate a proactive mentality. You must be proactive. Being proactive is all about developing the ability to anticipate solutions before the problem surface. The most valuable employees are the ones who are proactive. By definition, this means they control situations by making things to happen rather than waiting to respond after things happen. People who are proactive don’t sit around waiting for answers to appear; they stand up and find the answers. They don’t wait for someone to hand them an instruction manual; they’re resourceful. They take charge of what need to be done before been called. It means having the ability to take full responsibility while others are seeking for whom to blame.
Authored: Ifade Olusegun
HR Business Development, Simeon’s Pivot Resources