It is a no-brainer: companies should invest in empowering women!
Assertiveness, speaking up and getting the message across is a leadership skill. In most companies, women and men must master these skills to advance their careers.
Research shows that women find this harder than men do. Further, there is still a bias against women who do speak up.
Research also repeatedly shows that having diversity in leadership- and board positions is a significant benefit for the companies. We also know that an important factor to get women in leadership positions is for the companies to have a solid pipeline of women all the way up to the top ensuring there are enough quality and quantity to choose from when selecting leaders and board members.
So when companies say they do want more women in leadership positions and research support this as a financially sound decision, one should think that training women’s assertiveness is high on companies agendas to ensure women master this leadership skill.
However, some companies still shy away from this because they do not want to ‘favor’ women with tailored training. Or they make comments like ‘we do not want to masculinize women’.
But teaching women to be more assertive, to speak up and get the message across has nothing to do with favoring women. Nothing to do with making women copies of men. Empowering women gives the companies a possibility to get women’s ideas and viewpoints on the table, and it gives the companies a larger pipeline of qualified candidates to choose from when filling positions.
We need to stop looking at tailored training for women as something extraordinaire and look at it like we look at any other training we give to employees.
Learning to be able to speak up and ask for what one wants, is like learning a language when working abroad or learning project management skills if leading a project. Assertiveness and speaking up is a skill that can and should be learned, just like any other skill.
If companies want more women in leadership positions, they need to make sure that women master the skills of being assertive and speaking up. It is not a nice to have, but a need to have.
Assertiveness, speaking up and getting the message across is a great addition to whatever qualifications each woman has and companies will get a larger, more qualified pipeline to choose from when selecting leaders.
#leadershipdevelopment #career #humanresources #diversity #women