"The business case is clear: the research and data show that better results are achieved when you have both an inclusive environment and diverse teams.” ~ Sandra Bang, chief diversity and talent strategy officer at Shearman & Sterling LLP
Is your organization doing everything it can to ensure more women are promoted to positions of leadership? Probably not, but why? Perhaps you’re in a position where you have more candidates than positions, but in today’s competitive market, that seems doubtful. More likely, no one has put in the commitment it takes to identify, train and elevate women into key roles.
In my corporate training, “The Invisible Leaders: How to Find Them and Let Them Shine,” I explain how you can excel, both individually and as an organization, by leveraging those hidden leaders already working for you. It’s much more than just “the right thing to do," but if you or someone in your senior leadership need convincing of the power women leaders bring, read on for just some of the reasons why you need to start valuing your untapped talent right now.
1; Incorporate diverse thinking and unique insights
Every leadership book on the market will advise you to surround yourself with a team of people who both think like you and who think differently. Why? Diverse thinking is a cornerstone of great management because it helps us gather new ideas, find our blind spots and problem-solve most efficiently. Why then, would we undervalue women leaders, who bring great insights and creative thinking to the table? If you truly want a dynamic, innovative team, don’t underestimate what your untapped female talent can do for you and the organization. The best discussions will be had when there are a variety of perspectives in the room.
2, Improve retention of valuable women leaders
People leave organizations when they feel they are undervalued, when there are no opportunities, and when they see dim or stagnant prospects for the organization itself. If all your company has to offer its women employees is a grim future where they are passed over and unappreciated for all they do, they’ll leave. Instead, keep those valuable team members. Find them, help them advance, and enlist them in the effort to grow the numbers of women rising in the ranks of your organization.
3. Create improved productivity and enhanced results
Do your employees feel valued? All of them? If not, why not? We all work our best when we feel we are a part of something important, and that our effort matters. Unfortunately, not all organizations make notice of women and their endeavours, especially if they tend to achieve results in quieter or less boisterous ways. Imagine if, no matter who you were or what your work style, you felt that your company noticed and valued your work? The effect on quality and productivity across the whole organization would be undeniable. If you saw faces like yours among the ranks of senior leadership. If people “like you” were notably valued, you might be more motivated to do truly great work.
4. Encourage recruitment of more brilliant talent
Imagine what will happen when you gain a reputation for offering leadership training and advancement to capable women. Once word gets out that opportunities abound, the best and the brightest will seek you out whenever positions are posted. Recruiting becomes significantly easier if the untapped, overlooked hidden talent of other organizations realize they can come do great work with you and be valued for it. When enterprising, motivated and brilliant women see themselves represented amongst the ranks of your leadership, they’ll know they’ve found a place where they too can achieve great things – a win-win for employees and the company.
Now that you’re armed with a host of reasons why discovering the untapped women talent already working in your organization, start making a plan on how you are going to identify, coach and elevate the women already doing great work.
You’ll gain a great reputation for diverse thinking and not only improve your existing talent pool but also attract the best and brightest from your competitors as they lag behind in the struggle for great leadership talent.
Joel Garfinkle provides corporate training, webinars and keynotes. He is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the U.S., and the author of seven books, including "Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level." Last year, he delivered a presentation to a women resource group of a Fortune 500 company seeking to elevate the leadership potential already working in their midst. Within nine months, the company saw exponential growth in the number of women on the leadership track and a strong uptick in employee engagement measured with their yearly results. Subscribe to his Fulfillment at Work Newsletter to receive a one minute read full of best practice articles, famous leader profiles and 2-minute inspiring video clips.