Looking Back, and Ahead, at Women’s Leadership

As we prepare to bid adieu to 2014, let’s pause and reflect on some highlights we’ve seen in women’s leadership development this year:

  • There was a groundswell of dialogue based on an article in The Atlantic that revealed new findings on the link between success, confidence, and genetics. Authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman made the point that confidence can be acquired and the gender confidence gap—which leads to women considering themselves less ready for promotions and more likely to underestimate their abilities than men—can be closed. SHAMBAUGH’s research indicates that women can reprogram confidence levels by understanding the three pillars of confidence: brain science, belief systems, and targeted development.
  • In June, SHAMBAUGH explored how companies can take a deeper dive to examine executive conscience and break below the surface of issues that are holding women back from advancement. By delving deeper, current senior leaders can reexamine the mindsets and underlying issues within a corporate culture to find out what causes bottlenecks for women in the leadership pipeline. In 2015, SHAMBAUGH will continue to share research and future practices regarding their work on transforming corporate cultures and helping organizations catch up with a much more diverse workforce.
  • We entered July on the heels of Facebook’s public disclosure of demographic data indicating men represent nearly 70 percent of their global employees. Other leading tech companies, like Yahoo and Google, shared similarly disappointing numbers for women in their diversity reports this year. Yet a handful of tech companies are ahead of the curve in women’s leadership—including HP, IBM, and Intel—as SHAMBAUGH reported in August. More to come on progress SHAMBAUGH is making with tech firms based on using nontraditional strategies and an integrated approach in this area.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch’s nomination in the spring of four new independent director candidates to the company’s board—all of whom are women—resurrected a discussion last summer about what it will take for more women to gain board membership throughout the Fortune 500. To that end, SHAMBAUGH released a five-step action plan in September for women to land a board seat.
  • This fall, SHAMBAUGH continued to focus on how to move more women into leadership positions, rather than reiterate problems and obstacles to doing so. In October, we offered a three-part solution to help women learn to stand in their own power as leaders. In November, we continued problem-solving with a focus on how to move beyond first-level solutions to women’s leadership and instead develop a multifaceted approach of strategies for women, men, and employers to tackle together.
  • Finally, we capped off the year with a look at the importance of on-the-job learning for women, sharing data from a new report from DDI and The Conference Board, and taking note of three habits to avoid when it comes to women’s leadership development.

As you can see, while 2014 showed signs of progress for women’s leadership development and growing interest in the subject from companies worldwide, there’s plenty to build on in the New Year. As we weigh our progress against how far we still have to go, remember this season to take stock of the many joys in your life, whether through your relationships, health, or family.

SHAMBAUGH values the wonderful partnerships with our clients and those in the community that we’ve had the chance to facilitate this year. Here’s wishing you and yours the best of holidays and a New Year that brings growth, success, and abundance to your personal and professional leadership journey. Believe it, and it can be!

Contact SHAMBAUGH Leadership, and I will personally be happy to talk with you about innovative ways to move the needle for your women leaders. Visit www.shambaughleadership.com or call 703-744-1065.

For more information about SHAMBAUGH’s offerings, visit our:

Rebecca Shambaugh is author of the best-selling books It’s Not a Glass Ceiling, It’s a Sticky Floor,” “Leadership Secrets of Hillary Clinton,” and Make Room for Her: Why Companies Need an Integrated Leadership Model to Achieve Extraordinary Results

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