What Helps Women Leaders Move Up, Not Out?

Currently, women account for nearly 48% of the global workforce. This seems like progress for gender equality and inclusion, right? But the picture isn’t as rosy as you might think—especially for women leaders.

In fact, recent research reveals that as women move up the management ranks, they’re actually less likely to be promoted to each successive rung on the corporate ladder. No wonder women executives are quitting their jobs at a record pace!

What will it take to remove these obstacles so more women can reach top management positions?

With stellar talent in short supply these days, this topic has never been more important for employers to address. So I invite you to dig deeper with me on this #WorkTrends podcast episode.

Meet Our Guest:  Todd Mitchem

Today, I’m speaking with author, consultant, and leadership development expert, Todd Mitchem, EVP at AMP Learning and Development. Todd is a future-of-work visionary who helps individuals understand and embrace the process of professional disruption and reinvention. And today we’re tapping into his expertise on key trends involving women leaders.

Work, Women, and Power

Welcome, Todd! Tell us, how can women leaders step into their power?

I teach presentation, communication, and executive presence skills for employees, often at large companies like Microsoft. And I would say about 98% of the participants are women.

Often, when I tell these women to step into their own their power, they’ll ask, “Well, how do I do that? I don’t want to seem too aggressive, or too bossy, or…”

My response is, “When you are in a room presenting, you’re there because someone believed you deserved to be there. You just need to own that. You need to step into that power.”

And the next piece is to lean on what you know, lean on what you’re good at, and step into that strength.

Executive Presence is a Skill

How are women leaders applying these lessons to engage their power?

Well, executive presence is a skill. People aren’t born an executive leader. It’s a skill.

So, if you teach them this skill, it’s amazing to watch what emerges from the process.  Because it frees them to bring out all the things they’ve worked so hard to achieve.

It’s powerful. But it’s skill-based. Once you learn the skill, your intelligence, your wisdom, your knowledge all emerge, almost naturally.

Women Can Lead With Their Strengths

You say women leaders need to realize they deserve to be in the position they’re in and should claim it. But what do you really mean by this?

I think society tends to make women think they’re supposed to act like their male counterparts who are successful but may be aggressive or overly dominating.

But in truth, if women just lead with their knowledge, instead of trying to outmatch the egos of their male colleagues, they’ll find they’re in a better place. That’s because they have much more confidence.

How Men Can Help

Todd, you’ve helped thousands of women claim their power and step into their roles more fully. As a man, how can you do this?

It’s not as if the corporate world is now magically wonderful for women. It isn’t. That’s an illusion. But women are evolving at an incredible pace, and men need to help step that up.

As women step into their power, men need to step up and check our egos at the door.

Resistance, or fear, or an unconscious belief structure will destroy you. The ego’s fight to win is about wanting to be right, instead of getting it right.

But the best thing to do for the future of work is to embrace the power we have as a unified group—men and women working together.


For more great advice from Todd, listen to this full episode. Also, be sure to subscribe to the #WorkTrends Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. And to continue this conversation on social media, follow our #WorkTrends hashtag on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

That’s What No One Tells You About Hiring Women in 2017

Picture this:

It’s 2017, but gender imbalances still occur in companies. Managers know that gender diverse boards perform better, but female talents still face gender bias and stereotypes, which turn into challenges for ladies to overcome if they want to thrive.

Recruiting and hiring stats from Uptowork reveals that women are 82% more likely to believe men are paid more for the same work; and that is among many reasons why hiring managers might find it more difficult to recruit ladies. Other reasons include:

Okay, it’s not a call for recruiters to deny gentlemen and concentrate hiring skills on women only. It’s about balancing the scales during the selection process and improving sourcing and recruiting efforts when it comes to hiring talented female candidates.

What Women Want

Recruiting women starts with understanding what’s important to them.

With reference to the In Her Sight study, Sharon Florentine distinguishes five items for hiring professionals to consider while working on tactics of female talents recruitment:

  1. Paid time off
  2. Salary satisfaction
  3. Outstanding co-workers
  4. Equal opportunities for men and women
  5. Flexible work hours

With these in mind, your tactics to attract and keep women candidates might be as follows:

1) Make Job Ads Women-Friendly

It’s not about writing girly texts but making them work for both male and female candidates. This includes blocks about your company’s culture, in particular.

Promising perks like free beer, pool tables or video games might make candidates think your workplace is for men only. Thus, plagiarizing or paraphrasing job ads from fellow recruiters, you risk losing a significant portion of your potential employee base.

You might want to rethink the ways you craft job postings. Don’t make them sound over-enthusiastic, writing words like “rock star”, “ninja”, “coding god”, etc. Also, try keeping required skills to a minimum (unless you’re hiring for a senior position): reports say, women  will hardly apply for a job if they don’t meet all the listed qualifications. And consider a friendly tone rather than gobbledygook to attract diverse applicants.

In addition to that:

To find and hire female talent, make sure to advertise where they look. Women’s employment websites, career fairs at women’s colleges, women’s forums with job ads such as Systers, Women Tech World, or Girl Geek Dinner – consider these sources to double your recruiting efforts.

2) Offer Flexible Schedules

The benefits of allowing employees a flexible schedule are known per se, and many companies practice this approach: work-at-home days, working from coffee shops, and mobile offices – such perks attract candidates who are focused on performance rather than hours at the desk.

And here’s the kicker:

Flexible schedules go beyond working from 10 to 6 instead of 9 to 5. If you want female talents in the workplace, offer truly flexible schedules that would allow ladies to adjust the time for whatever life of working wife and mother might throw: sick children, parent/teacher meetings, etc.

Sure, no one needs sick, lazy, or unproductive employees; but a focus on performance rather than time spent in the office could make workers feel more valued and satisfied.

3) Cultivate Women Leaders

Women leaders can teach a lot about business, so recruiting star female candidates becomes easier if you demonstrate opportunities for them to develop professional skills and help them see career paths within a company.

Different training as well as sponsorship or mentorship programs for female employees within enterprises, cultivating their leadership skills, could be a captivating perk for talented and ambitious ladies to apply for a job in your company.

4) Provide Equal Opportunities

To hire female talents in 2017, recruiting managers should also focus on providing the information about pay equity. What is your company’s policy here?

  • Does it equalize starting salaries?
  • Does it make them non-negotiable?
  • Or, does it offer a better initial package for women to make up the difference?

Maternity leave, prenatal care, and childcare facilities may serve well to a company’s reputation as well as help recruiters find qualified female applicants.

Another issue to consider:

Excise sexism from the workplace. To attract talented young ladies, let them know that your company embraces equality and educates employees about all forms of biases. Integrate gender-conscious updates into hiring practices by raising awareness through Implicit Association Tests or diversity programs.

Having documented policies against sexual harassment and discrimination is great, but make sure to create a positive working environment for female employees. That will encourage more women to respond to your job openings.

Just Get It Done

Long live stereotypes about dividing professions on men’s and women’s. Some still believe ladies don’t like STEM, don’t want to work in construction or police, and try to ignore male-dominated occupations.

Doesn’t it sound like a brilliant excuse for recruiters unwilling to bother?

But here’s the rub:

The argument that women aren’t interested is no longer valid in 2017. Progressive recruitment is about the adoption of proactive strategies. Female candidates don’t want to accept the theory of confidence gap anymore: they span economies, lead companies, embrace technologies, and know their worth.

So, to attract and keep them, you can’t lock yourself into traditional recruiting methods. Instead, design strategies that will allow targeting more diverse yet truly professional candidates.

Any thoughts?

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