A leadership development program is the primary process by which organizations invest in talent management. The majority of these programs are from male perspectives. Studies show that customized development programs are typically for male leadership roles, even as women hold an average of 25.01% of executive positions. However, the new-age leadership training courses are actively trying to be gender inclusive. In a push for better gender parity in corporate scenarios, it is time leadership education addresses challenges unique to women in leadership roles: influence of societal expectations and female perception in decision-making. Only targeted support can help women leaders build the skills needed for leadership capacities.
Thus far, the majority of the leadership training courses have mainly focused on developing emotional intelligence or soft skills, both of which are predominant gaps in men in leadership roles.
Development Program for Women in Leadership Roles
The idea of bringing leadership courses on gender parity is to foster gender diversity and inclusivity in leadership roles. It can become one of the most important avenues to reimagine leadership development programs with a specific focus on women leaders. Here are ten factors that should be included in an ideal leadership development program for women.
- Gender-Responsive Curriculum: Historically, gender bias and stereotypes have been dominant in most industries. They should offer alternative strategies to address gender-specific challenges, propose a roadmap to manage such hurdles and build self-confidence in women leaders.
- Overcoming Impostor Syndrome: Leadership development programs must design the curriculum to strategize and guide women in leadership roles to overcome impostor syndrome. It is a phenomenon that is common to most women employees, and they need to be sensitized to embrace their competence.
- Networking and Mentoring: Women leaders need to have opportunities to widen their scope by exploring other industries and networking with peers. Mentoring by peers is also an important strategy for the growth of women leaders within and outside the organization. Such networking and mentoring opportunities help women leaders to learn, support, and collaborate.
- Negotiation Skills: One of the biggest challenges women leaders face is being able to manage gender disparities and prejudice during negotiations. One way leadership development programs can step up this key leadership skill in women leaders is by offering training in negotiation techniques. It will empower them to advocate for themselves and speak up for their teams.
- Leadership Presence: Some key characteristics women in leadership roles need are: a strong leadership presence, powerful communication skills, assertiveness, and the ability to influence teams. Training in these skills will help them leverage their natural skills in multi-tasking and resolving complexities, helping them become better leaders.
- Work-Life Integration: This is an important facet for women leaders, as efficient leaders need to have the skills to balance personal responsibilities with professional pressures. Women leaders need effective training in work-life integration.
- Personal Branding: Most women in leadership roles shy away from developing a personal brand. They should be encouraged to create their leadership brand based on their flair to handle challenges, showcase their strengths and values, and visibly create long-lasting leadership impact.
- Risk-Taking and Decision-Making: A measure of a leader’s capability is making decisions. Women are stereotyped as being risk-averse, and training programs should cultivate a culture that encourages calculated risk-taking. It builds confidence in them to make risk-based decisions by addressing self-doubt.
- Breaking Through Glass Ceilings: Equip women leaders with the tools to shatter glass ceilings and navigate their career trajectories, challenging systemic barriers and biases.
- Gender Advocacy: This is an important part of women’s leadership education, where men and women are sensitized to support and advocate gender equality in leadership to build a supportive and inclusive organizational culture.
These are some of the essential elements that a leadership development program should include for organizations to create an environment that empowers women leaders to thrive, drive innovation and achieve tangible business results.
With women leaders slowly making their mark in corporate leadership and boardrooms, there is a gender parity gap that needs to be bridged for an effective leadership development program to be implemented. To achieve genuine gender parity in leadership roles, organizations must provide, mentor and guide women leaders to address the unique challenges proactively.
Leadership training courses for women in leadership roles will lead to overall better organizational performance and resilience. Want to know more about leadership development and training programs? Speak to experts at Infopro Learning for customized training and development solutions.