The Power of Culture in Empowering the Next Generation of Female Leaders

by Jody Ordioni

The Power of Culture in Empowering the Next Generation of Female Leaders

Due to the pandemic, workforces everywhere are witnessing a blended model of professional and personal life. Female leaders are proving far more capable of handling this upheaval, due to the skills they have refined over the years. As a result, they are also looking at the next generation of female leaders and deciding how to best cultivate leadership qualities in them.

Identifying Hurdles to Leadership

Women often tend to opt-out before they max out. This implies that due to other commitments, women are not able to reach their full potential professionally, and are rather expected to quit their roles. Empowering women means acknowledging the diversity- or the lack of it- in your workplace and making it an inclusive space.

Our research has found that one in four women are thinking about quitting their jobs. Mothers more than fathers, are likely to leave their professional roles, to fulfill their parenting responsibilities. Since it becomes difficult to juggle both the roles, working mothers due to social and other pressures tend to leave their jobs. To prevent this, opportunities for development and stretch assignments should be made available. Mentors should be provided who can help them succeed and retain them in the company.

Leading by Example

There is a significant absence of women in leadership positions. As a consequence, few female mentors can empower and guide the next generation of female leaders. Particular struggles are exclusive to women, such as building credibility and proving their worth at every instance, that male counterparts do not have to go through. Thus, leaders who are women have to develop leadership styles that are unique to their experiences and not be dependent on the style of their male counterparts.

Encoding Women's Success in the Company Culture

Leaders do not cease to learn, grow, or develop in their roles, and it is through the amplification of their learnings that they move further. Mentoring is an important exercise that benefits both parts of the equation. While earlier, women had to take the initiative of building networks and seeking out mentors, individually, now there is an increased focus on creating safe spaces and allies within the organizations themselves. Female professionals are disengaging at a rapid pace from the job sphere, especially when the soft skills refined by them are in particular demand.

Senior-level, female employees are more pressured than their male counterparts to always present their work personas. This leads to more burnout among female employees. Women were 1.5 times more likely to downsize or quit their jobs due to the pandemic.

The culture should motivate women to participate in initiatives that will help them advance their careers, rather than waiting for opportunities. Empower women to be cognizant of the developmental opportunities coming their way. Encourage them to participate in cross-functional work to engage and learn more skills.

Share Voices

Your voice in the workplace is the distinguishing quality that separated you from the larger crowd. Do not just simply be present in a room, your presence should be obvious. As an employee, you should be eager to learn and engage in new opportunities. Choosing your area of interest and developing your skills in the chosen area can help you become a leading figure in the field. Wherever you are stuck, do not hesitate to ask for help.

Forging a Path Ahead

All employees deserve the resources and support to realize their ambitions. However, at times, it is possible that this is not available. In that case, you need to forge your path ahead. Find allies and advocates who support your work and are genuinely interested in helping you out. They do not have to necessarily be women. Your network will help you find opportunities, encourage you to take better chances, and support you during every setback. The importance of a supportive system should not be downplayed.

The Bottom Line

The work-from-home upheaval has revealed a different way of being in the workspace. Women, for ages, have been forging a unique path that is not dependent on pre-set rules, rather handles each arising conflict uniquely. Their skillset puts them in a position to take charge in the changing dynamics of the workforce and emerge as leaders.

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