It’s one of the most talked about issues this year, employers are finding it harder to sweep under the carpet, and workplaces are becoming more open about it. What is it? Gender equality.
With new legislation making it compulsory for public and private sector organisations to publish details of their gender pay gap figures, gender equality in the workplace has become the hot topic of 2018.
As a result, the events industry has been awash with Women in Leadership conferences across the globe, designed to empower professional women and help them break through the ever-present glass ceiling. The age-old ‘career or children’ dilemma is diminishing, as women worldwide turn their backs on tradition and ask themselves – and their bosses – ‘why not both’?
So, as a woman in a leadership role, what can you do to ensure you’re not only taken as seriously as your male colleagues, but you’re valued and appreciated by staff at all levels for the work you do? Here are our top five golden rules to increase your credibility as a leader and ensure you make an impact at work.
- Be conscious of your role: This may seem like an obvious one, but by believing you are a leader and keeping this thought at the forefront of your mind when communicating with colleagues, you will automatically come across as confident and self-assured. You got to where you are for a reason – you have the skills, knowledge and experience to operate in a senior role and you are able to successfully lead a team. Don’t lose sight of this, and remind yourself daily of the unique qualities you have that make you great at your job.
- Be a great listener: Great leadership is not just about directing your colleagues to your way of thinking. The ability to listen and respond to the opinions and needs of your team is essential. The strongest teams are made up of strong communicators – and that involves taking on board the advice and thoughts of your team members.Remember, you don’t always have to have the answers, but the ability to be a great listener is at the core of any successful leader.
- Support and empower your female colleagues: A widely held theory to explain the lack of women in leadership roles is ‘Queen Bee Syndrome’ – the idea that successful women in positions of authority enjoy this unique power and therefore block other women from progressing to more senior roles, otherwise known as ‘pulling the ladder behind them’.Whether there is any truth in this theory, or it’s just another excuse used by employers to explain away inequalities in their workforce, there is no doubt that the best leaders encourage their staff to progress in their career – even if that means overtaking you. By supporting your staff in their professional development, you will boost their confidence and engagement at work and ensure you get the best performance from your team.
- Close the confidence gap: It’s a sweeping statement to say that women lack confidence at work compared to men, but research has shown that men tend to overestimate their abilities, whereas women are much less likely to put themselves forward for a task due to a lack of belief in their capability. Discussions on the under-representation of women in leadership roles often comes back to the same argument – it’s down to a lack of confidence, not a lack of ability. One of the first steps towards creating a more equal playing field in the workplace is to establish the reasons for this confidence gap, and equip women with the tools to improve their presence and self-belief.
- Communication is key!: Women and men typically have different styles of communication. For example, the average woman speaks around 20,000 words a day, whereas the average man speaks just 7,000. Your language choice and how you present yourself can have a huge impact on working relationships and how status or credibility is perceived by colleagues.One advantage of being a female leader is that, generally speaking, women are better at emotional empathy than men. This means women tend to be better able to read body language and tone from colleagues and react accordingly. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many women are throwing away their chances of success by trying to act too much like men. By taking advantage of a softer skill such as emotional intelligence, women can overcome career barriers and develop more meaningful relationships with colleagues.
With this last point in mind, Understanding ModernGov are pleased to be hosting a CPD certified training course designed especially to help women enhance their communication skills in the workplace to become a more effective leader. You can view the agenda and see available dates here.
‘Confident Communication for Women in the Workplace’ is led by Dialect and Vocal Communications coach Anne Walsh. This interactive day comprises of practical workshops where you will discover a toolkit of speech and assertiveness techniques to ensure you create an impact at work and develop your skills as a leader.
Get involved in the conversation!
What issues has your organisation faced regarding gender equality in the workplace? What advice can you give other employers to encourage a safe working environment for all employees?
We’d love to hear from you. You can tweet us using #UMGTraining @UModernGov.
If you would like to discuss any of the details you have read in this blog; including our ‘Confident Communications for Women in the Workplace’ course, please contact us on 0800 542 9440 or email [email protected].
Can’t make the date?
We can also run this course for you In-House, at your organisation or a venue of your choice, on a date to suit you. Bringing your team together for a group training event is a great team building exercise, and we work closely with you to develop a bespoke training agenda that is completely tailored to your organisation’s requirements.
Contact our In-House training team on [email protected] or call 0800 542 9414 to find out more.