Women’s Leadership Development
Women’s Leadership Development is the topic of many “emerging” trends in the Organization Development spectrum and core to the future of management growth. The Industrial Revolution polarized the inequality of men and women in the eyes of the employer and although women were the backbone of many industries during this period, history would not support the future as the role of women was seemingly isolated to stereotypical fiefdoms. Thankfully, this is changing and doing so with rapid pace.
This project was chartered to identify, develop and support women leaders as they “emerged” into roles of more authority and visibility.
The client is a multi-national restaurant chain with a complex network of diverse franchise owners and contributing leadership.
Due to the various global locations, cultural norms vs. corporate, and hardened stereotypes of roles in the industry, the client was not meeting “their” goals for gender diversity in management positions. This was consistent at the local unit and corporate levels.
AMS established several “career track” development programs focusing on both emerging leaders and women in that capacity. In addition, a selection criteria was built to bring continuity to the “role” with a “gender blind” theme. This approach to equality drew the focal point toward performance and opportunity vs. stereotype and role. Finally we identified several key areas that would help the women leaders overcome some unique challenges related to the culture and established “legacy” norms that would not just disappear. Topics like negotiation, conflict resolution, decision making and executive presence were all “re-fit” to the women’s leadership theme and then facilitated by executive women to help bring practicality to the roadblocks others may face.
The benefits of this program were seen in several ways. The organization realized an almost immediate shift in moral amongst the women leaders as they felt a support system was in place, but more critically a serious move toward change. The client was also able to leverage the Women’s Leadership Development program in recruiting and this was a significant value add from a talent acquisition perspective. Finlay, they saw a significant reduction in female employee attrition from the middle manager ranks.