“Accelerate your career progress: Develop Confidence, Impact & Influence”. Women In Wireless London

Women in Wireless

Women in Wireless is a nonprofit organization that empowers and develops female leaders in mobile and digital media.

A quick post about the excellent Women in Wireless is a nonprofit organization that empowers and develops female leaders in mobile and digital media. London Chapter  evening a couple of weeks ago.  www.womeninwireless.org

The topic was “Accelerate your career progress: Develop Confidence,  Impact & Influence and the presentation was by executive coach Dr. Catherine Sandler of Sandler Consulting http://www.sandlerconsulting.co.uk

Career progress? Women in the workplace? An  eminently qualified and experienced corporate coach sharing her knowledge?   I was there like a shot. And not disappointed.

At least not by the content of the evening – but I’ll admit I was slightly taken aback and disappointed by some of the statistics coming out of the corporate world.  Like the 2013 Davies Report which says that only 6.1% of Executive Directors in FTSE 100 companies are women. Despite the fact that elsewhere figures show that companies with at least 1 woman on the board are 20% less likely to go bust and that gender diverse leadership leads to almost double the operating profit and 17% higher growth in share price. So if there is no valid commercial reason for women not being in senior positions, what is going on?

Well often Unconscious Gender Bias is going on according to Dr. Sandler.  Which the personal experiences shared by of some of the women at the presentation would certainly seem to confirm.  And that bias exists in men AND women so no blame game to play here.

And as coaching is all about taking personal responsibility for our own lives I thought I’d share just a brief selection of the tips on career advancement which Dr. Sandler gave  in her presentation (with her kind permission).

What can women do.

Build self- confidence and self-belief

Identify your personal /leadership brand – and ensure you live it

Actively network and build relationships across your company

Seek out development opportunities – stretch assignments, training, coaching

Take responsibility for managing your career

Look ahead – identify what leads to promotion in your business

Share your ambitions and aspirations with key stakeholders

Update your CV – keep a file of your successes and skills

Make the most of meetings

Choose where you sit – arrive early and choose a powerful spot

Speak up – prepare, make yourself contribute, ask questions

Consider your language – don’t apologise or play down your comments (my italics!)

What organisations can do.

Understand that Unconscious Bias exists in all of us

Understand the value of female leadership attributes

Appreciate that women may have different career paths

Don’t believe that Gender Bias exists in the 21st century?  Think again.  The first time I’d heard of this Harvard experiment was when I Dr. Sandler mentioned it – those of you who have read the Sheryl Sandberg book “Lean in” will already be familiar with it.  I found the description below on http://www.pwnparis.net/newsletter/2013-09/post/6_lean_in_septembre.html  The Professional Women’s Network – Paris blog:

“In 2003, Harvard Business School ran an experiment to test perceptions of men and women in the workplace. They chose the case study of Heidi Roizen, a real-life entrepreneur. The case described how Heidi was successful thanks to her outgoing personality and networking abilities. The same story was read by 2 groups of students with one difference: one group was working on Heidi, for the other, her name was changed to Howard. When asked for their thoughts, both groups found Heidi and Howard equally competent, which made sense, their accomplishments were identical. Nevertheless Howard came across as the more appealing colleague, whilst Heidi was seen as “selfish” and “not the person you would like to work for”. The same data with a single difference – gender – created very different impressions.”

Remember this test had men AND women participants in it!

I’ve shared this since with a couple of my very successful women friends in Media and Entertainment and they were as gobsmacked as I was – but at the same time not, if you know what I mean.

So in some ways the lesson here has to be first place a higher value on  ourselves and the particular strengths and input we can bring to the business world , and then be valued by that world.

Or as Eleanor Roosevelt said a very long time ago “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.

And as comedienne, writer, producer and Golden Globes co-host Tina Fey said not so long ago ” Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.”

Links to the books written by the women mentioned in this post are below.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bossypants-Tina-Fey/dp/0751547832

http://www.amazon.com/Lean-In-Women-Work-Will/dp/0385349947

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Catherine-Sandler/e/B005OYO0U8

http://www.goodreads.com/author/list/44566.Eleanor_Roosevelt

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