By Nancy Droesch and Karen Miller, Co-Founders of WILLO LLC
August 23, 2017
In December 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported that “More than two dozen chief executives of companies, including Bank of America Corp., LinkedIn Corp. and Newmont Mining Corp., have signed a pledge to speed women’s progress up the corporate ladder.” Credit Suisse Research Institute released comprehensive research in 2016 that reaffirmed that gender diversity in leadership was linked to higher corporate profitability. Many companies have recognized the need to address the challenges of gender diversity in their own leadership teams and have established formal or informal “women’s initiatives”. Yet, the impact of many of these initiatives has not produced the desired results. Women are still underrepresented in leadership roles and progress to change this dynamic has been slow. We have identified the key factors to establishing a successful initiative to retain, develop and advance women leaders.
In a recent article by Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and Co-Founder of Ellevest, an innovative digital platform for women, this question is posed. The benefits of thought diversity as supported by the research are improved company financial performance and customer focus, increased employee engagement and greater innovation. So if more diverse teams lead to better decision making, than why are women still receiving business advice to act more like men? Maybe it has something to do with the perception that leadership traits are associated with what? Male behaviors …..
The following is our list of top five must-read books:
- The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
- Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
- What Works for Women at Work: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know by Joan C. Williams and Rachel Dempsey
- Why Women, The Leadership Imperative to Advancing Women and Engaging Men by Jeffrey Tobias Halter
- Everyday BIAS – Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments in Our Daily Lives by Howard J. Ross
In an article in Fast Company, author Sava Berhane makes the case that having a mentor is not sufficient for advancement. Sponsorship is the key. Sponsorship is the powerful backing of senior colleagues needed to help women navigate the challenging path to upper management. However, women are 54% less likely than men to have a sponsor.