Bridging the Leadership Gap

Bridging the Leadership Gap

By Vitiello Communications Group

Sheryl Sandberg, author and chief operating officer of Facebook, strategically used the 106th annual International Women’s Day as a springboard to launch her Ban Bossy campaign. Through her nonprofit organization, LeanIn.org, Sandberg is partnering with the Girl Scouts of USA to encourage girls to lead by raising their hands at work — or at school — and demanding recognition for their accomplishments. She says that when women act decisively or assertively (two traits needed to be a good leader), they are often called bossy. This word carries a stigma and keeps women from taking the next step in their careers.

Like anything Sandberg does, the #banbossy campaign quickly went viral on Twitter, and the site received more than one million hits in just its first day. It has also stirred up a controversy, with some saying that the word “bossy” is not the problem.

One thing is certain. There is definitely a deficit when it comes to women in leadership positions. Women account for 50 percent of the population; yet, a recent Grant Thornton International Business report finds that they comprise only 24 percent of senior management in corporations around the world. Add to that the fact that women make up 19 percent of Congress and just 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs, and it’s clear that there is a need to encourage women to seek out opportunities.

So, what can business leaders can do to support the growth of women in leadership roles within their organization? Here are a few tips:

  • Training. Education is the foundation of any successful career. Invest in the future of your company by providing professional development opportunities to all of your employees. And, if it is relevant to your industry, go out into your community to promote the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among young girls.
  • Mentoring. Build a mentoring relationship with the women in your organization to help them transform leadership traits into opportunities for advancement. Your role as mentor can be an informal exchange or part of a formalized corporate effort like the CitiWomen program. CitiWomen offers two core programs aimed at advancing women across the company’s businesses, building a global network and encouraging clients to engage in the effort.
  • Social Media. Engage and celebrate the women in your organization by using social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to recognize their outstanding achievements.

What are you doing to bridge the leadership gap in your organization? Leave a comment to let us know.

Subscribe to Speaking Of, our monthly e-newsletter for leaders who are passionate about communicating to drive results.

Your privacy is important to us. VTLO will never sell, rent or share your personal information with others. Read our privacy policy for more information.