Leadership Mentoring Programs for Women
As a career-minded woman who is lucky enough to have had the opportunity to learn from many successful women, this statement from a recent Fast Company article certainly caught my eye:
Having women in leadership positions directly correlates with the success of a company.
After a quick indulgence in a “Girls Rule!” moment, I continued to read the article to learn that the top 20% of companies in terms of financial performance have almost twice as many women in leadership roles. An impressive statistic, no doubt, and one that points to a topic I think is worth exploring.
There are myriad reasons that explain why women are well suited to make great leaders, but I think one is nearly impossible to argue with: Women make up more than half of today’s consumers. Or to put in a slightly different context, at least half of the world’s buyers targeted by today’s corporations are women. (Are you seeing the $$$ yet?) Given this fact alone, it’s clear that women possess unique insights that would be valuable to the bottom line at most companies if they could share them at a leadership level. That said, women make up less than 4.8% of leadership in today’s Fortune 500 corporations according to a 2014 DiversityInc listing. That’s a mere 24 women. I am not alone when I say we can surely do better than this.
Diversity of thought plays a huge role in innovation, brainstorming, and problem solving—all key elements at the executive level. Coupled with the study’s findings featured in the Fast Company article, it seems that it would be to a company’s advantage to encourage more diversity in the C-suite. The hard part, of course, is getting there.
One potential solution seems clear: Provide more leadership development opportunities for all professional women. Co-author of the study featured in the above article, Evan Sinar, seems to agree. In a recent press release, he advised organizations to ensure formal practices are in place to facilitate leadership opportunities for women and “fully commit your support to mentoring programs to develop and prepare new leaders.”
I certainly can say that all the women in leadership roles whom I’ve had the privilege of knowing, working with, or, in my case, being related to, attribute their success to participation in mentoring and social learning relationships. They affirm that it was their mentors, coaches, and peer collaborators who helped guide them to become the successful leaders they are today. Now imagine this effect multiplied throughout your company through developmental relationships that will not only fuel but also be fueled by the tremendous contributions and accomplishments of your female employees. There are no downsides to providing this type of connected, relational learning in support of your employees to help accelerate their development as leaders and professionals. In fact, I can only see the positives in such an endeavor; as a result, your company will only possess better women leaders at all levels of your organization. But the progress will not stop there—your bottom line will certainly feel the positive impact as well.
If you are interested in finding out how to use modern mentoring to reach a more inclusive audience for broad leadership development at your organization, read this Infoline on the topic to learn more.