I just loved this motivation from Sheexec and just had to share:
While the world is evolving, women are still lagging behind when it comes to leadership roles in business. This year’s research showed that in SA’s Top 40 companies‚ there was only one female CEO: Maria Ramos of Absa. This is a drop from 2012’s research‚ when there were two female CEOs. At executive level this year‚ from a total of 373 executives in the Top 40 companies‚ 83 (22%) were women. This represented a slight increase from the 17% female representation in 2015.
With women still pushing to reach the top, they are faced with a range of challenges that many of their male CEO counterparts don’t have an understanding of. It is these issues that are preventing many women from achieving their goal of becoming a leader at their company and diminishing their ability to get ahead in business.
Below, we share what the biggest challenges women leaders are facing and provide advice for women leaders everywhere.
Being treated equally
One of the biggest challenges women are currently facing is equality in the workplace. Ouradvice for women leaders everywhere is to go for what they want in their careers and not to give up. Hone the skills necessary to give you those opportunities, such as your communication skills, leadership development, and emotional intelligence. Raise your hand in meetings. Speak up, and be heard.
Building a sisterhood
Another challenge women face today is garnering support from other women. Our advice is to support and empower each other, starting with the basic principles of who you are — your morals, values, integrity. You must be just. Be humbled, show togetherness, passion, excellence and enthusiasm toward laying the foundation for your progress through your work.
One of the biggest challenges I see when I speak with females is their confidence. I tell them they need to get comfortable knowing that people will always try to take you off of “your game” or dislike you for no apparent reason. But if you go in knowing this, if you are clear on your purpose and on what you are trying to achieve, then you will be successful in getting what you want.
It’s not enough to be in a leadership role or to sit at the big table. One must also speak confidently, regardless of odds faced. Women leaders fear being ostracized or rejected; however, respect comes when one’s voice is heard. We coach leaders to share their voice and perspective because it can help shape policy, the workforce and perspective. Make your presence known as a leader and collaborator for good.
Building alliances with decision-makers
It’s not easy to be bullied, but there is a way to get past it. We suggest women build healthy relationships with supporters, create a strong personal brand, to network, establish guidelines before each project and position themselves as experts in their field.
Becoming a member of the C-Suite
Women everywhere are making positive moves in the workplace. They are taking more risks and preparing themselves to take on more challenging roles. That said, one of the greatest obstacles they face is making their way to the C-suite. My advice is that they take the bull by the horns: Know what you want and be relentless in their preparation.
Standing in their success
Some women leaders shy away from speaking on their accomplishments for fear of being boastful or conceited. Women tend to think that they need to shrink themselves, to seem non-intimidating. Gain the confidence to know that if you’re in the room, it means you deserve to be there. Shrinking does nothing but delay your voice from being heard and taken seriously.
Trusting their own voice
In conversations with leaders, there is one recurring theme that disturbs me. It is the virtually inaudible question I hear women asking themselves too often: “Who am I to…?” Right now, you are among the wealthiest, most educated and powerful women ever on the planet. You have not risen to your current title by accident. You must trust and use your own voice!
Dealing with negative thoughts
Why do you allow the negative thoughts that arise in your mind to take control of your life? Take control of your thoughts by becoming consciously aware of them and to either replace them with more positive and encouraging thoughts or to accept them and decide to move forward despite them.
Re-entering the paid workforce
Re-launching a career after a long break as a full-time caregiver for children or aging parents is challenging. It requires combating ageism, rebuilding confidence, re-constructing a network, dusting off old skills or developing new ones, and catching up on technology. Women leaders should assist these re-launchers advance themselves, even if your path was different and didn’t include a career break.
If you are facing challenges that prevent you from being the best leader you can be, SheXec offers leaders and high potentials a few immersive and intellectually rigorous programs that enhance critical leadership skills and advance business acumen. Transform and empower yourself with new ways to think strategically, extend your influence and have a greater impact in your organization. Contact us for more information or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.