There are five leadership skills we believe women can develop to reach their full potential as leaders. These include strong leadership skills, power and influence, negotiating, overcoming resistance and networking skills. Collectively these skills will help you reach your full potential and help you develop your career in C-suite positions.
In the corporate sector, women are still not reaching their full potential or being promoted into C-suite positions.
In 2020 only 19.3% of executives and 7.9% of CEOs were women in corporate companies within the European Union. However multiple studies have found that both men and women don’t differ much in effective leadership styles, if anything women have been found to be slightly more talented in this area.
The real problem clearly is not that women don’t have the proper skills to become strong leaders but that there are more obstacles for women than men.
Ultimately women do not need to change to become great leaders, but in a world where men dominate the C-Suite corporate sector, things need to change for women to take a well-deserved seat at the table.
We have put together the top five leadership skills for women, that you can develop to guarantee you get ahead of your male counterparts and reach your potential as a women leader.
1. Leadership Skills
One of the most obvious skills that women can develop is leadership skills.
Leadership comes with a whole host of skills beneath it, that collectively create strong organisational leaders. These include skills like emotional intelligence, communication proficiency, decisiveness, motivation and effective delegation to name only a few.
Many of these skills come very naturally to women but it’s always worth upskilling and developing these further in a professional way. You can do this by attending an ILM (Institute of Leadership and Management) course.
2. Power and Influence
Power and influence go hand in hand to achieve organisational goals and objectives.
Women who use their power effectively can influence others behaviour, this, in turn, is what prompts employees into action.
Some employees may try to resist efforts to make them perform, but by gaining respect and trust through your hardworking mentality, emotional intelligence and motivational mindset, strong women leaders will be able to overcome this confrontation.
Always remember to have confidence in your own abilities as a leader and then power and influence will naturally occur.
Negotiating is a crucial skill to have if you are wanting to progress in your career.
Research has found that women are less likely to negotiate for better positions or higher pay due to gender bias. This is because women who do negotiate are told they are ‘too bossy’ or ‘intimidating’, however, you are twice as likely to get a pay rise if you were to negotiate.
Firstly, make sure you do your research, ask your male and female peers who have asked for pay rises on what to expect. Next practice your pitch, remember to say why you deserve that job promotion/pay rise. Talk about your achievements and visions for the future.
Lastly, make sure you are asking for a specific amount. Men are more likely to ask for more than women in the same positions, so never undersell yourself. If anything, oversell yourself so you are in a better negotiating position and more likely to get the amount you want and deserve.
4. Overcoming Resistance to Change
Change is inevitable in any organisation and those that change for the better thrive in the modern world. However, overcoming resistance to change can be somewhat difficult with multiple employees, some of which will have been in the company for many years.
The best way you can overcome this as a women leader is through great communication and employee engagement.
There should be a constant flow of communication throughout the time of change, so employees are always informed.
The next thing you must do is engage with the employees, listen to what their thoughts are on the change. Ask them questions about whether the change is working and what they think would make things better. This paired with both formal and informal communication will develop trust among your employees, making it a smoother process.
So many women dismiss networking as they find it insincere and sometimes manipulative. But networking can be extremely beneficial.
Women need a strong network of trusted partners that can help them get results and influence other people. For you to be a successful women leader you need a network of mentors, sponsors, coaches and leaders in your sector. These new connections can help you develop, earn promotions and gain new opportunities.
These five tips are just a starting point for women who want to progress themselves as leaders. There’s still so much bias towards women in C-suite positions and developing these five skills can help combat that in a male dominant sector.
Take the next step
Here at Salford Professional Development, we offer leadership courses so you can develop these skills and more, helping you reach your full potential. The Women in Leadership Course develops all of these skills you’ve just read about – with access to our exclusive networking support group.