HR Breakfast Seminar London: Women in Leadership
On the 25th of September, our London office held its second ‘Women in Leadership’ seminar in partnership with Arcadia Consulting. A selection of senior HR leaders joined us for an energised discussion over breakfast led by Sue Cooper, Principal Consultant at Arcadia Consulting.
We kicked off by recapping the issues and challenges faced by women in leadership that we are continuing to address in this series, including:
- Work/Life blend; how to have a family and a career
- Confidence in your abilities, your brand and reputation; the importance of believing in yourself and not falling victim to ‘imposter syndrome’
- Speaking up; overcoming the fear of coming across as a bossy woman rather than a respected leader
- Lonely at the top; often in leadership roles you don’t have anyone to confide in.
Sue then shared her women in leadership story; becoming a CEO and growing her career whilst also being a wife, a mother and later a grandmother and the choices she faced along the way.
We moved onto looking at the two types of mind-set; growth and fixed and the impact of this on your career development. The group, led by Matt Worsdall, Head of Business Development EMEA at Arcadia Consulting conducted an exercise which ascertained through a series of questions who has a growth or fixed mind-set.
If you have a fixed mind-set you want to protect yourself and are likely to; dodge challenges, not feel the need to improve upon your skills, deflect criticism and feel threatened by the success of others, culminating in early plateau. Those with a growth mind-set want to learn so they welcome challenges, bounce back from setbacks, are keen to put in effort, believe in skills improvement and learn from the success of others which results in their ongoing improvement.
Matt also highlighted the importance of focusing on your strengths rather than your flaws and the value of strength based coaching over focusing on fixing weaknesses ('trait F' – developed by Zenger Folkman).
The session was concluded by Sue, who now mentors other women coming into leadership roles, she highlighted some key takeaways based on her experience:
- Be yourself; it’s important to stay true to who you are
- Believe in yourself; Do not fall victim to ‘imposter syndrome’ and build up some resilience so that as a professional in your field you have confidence in your ability to succeed
- Challenge yourself; step up at work and take on tasks that enable you to prove yourself by producing a great outcome
- Lead by example; demonstrate behaviours that you would want your team to have and treat them equally
- Take your time; career development takes time and becoming a leader requires life experience, it’s not a race.
Sue and Matt then took questions from the participants who shared their own challenges and sought advice on their career development.
We will be continuing our ‘Women in Leadership’ series in 2019. If you would be interested in taking part in the next session please reach out to Kirstin Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org. For any of our other future events, follow us on LinkedIn and keep an eye on our events page.