TIME TO STAND UP, BE COUNTED

Women are miss­ing out on jobs for fear of fail­ure, Lau­ren Ah­wan re­ports

The Courier-Mail - Career One - - Learning -

CON­FI­DENCE and the abil­ity to “fake it un­til you make it” are of­ten the only skills women need to de­velop to be­come suc­cess­ful lead­ers. The Lead­er­ship In­sti­tute chief ex­ec­u­tive Dana Light­body says many women al­ready have what it takes to hold lead­er­ship po­si­tions but do not put them­selves forward for fear of fail­ure.

“There’s a lot of women not stick­ing their hands up for jobs that they’re not 100 per cent cer­tain they can do,” she says.

“But men will have a go, even if they have only got 60 per cent (of the skills pr­ereq­ui­sites).

“If women are wait­ing for that ‘100 per cent job’ then they’re miss­ing out on 80 per cent of the jobs that they could be great at.”

For the first time, the pro­por­tion of women on ASX 200 boards reached 30 per cent this year but 40 ASX 200 com­pa­nies still have only one woman di­rec­tor, while six com­pa­nies have none.

Light­body says suc­cess­ful women lead­ers har­ness their nat­u­ral abil­i­ties to be in­clu­sive, en­cour­ag­ing, good com­mu­ni­ca­tors and au­then­tic.

“Women used to think they had to act like men and be ballsy but now there’s a shift into not be­ing some­body that you’re not and not be­ing a woman in a man’s suit,” she says.

Ella Bache chief ex­ec­u­tive Pippa Hal­las – who is one of the speak­ers pre­sent­ing at The Lead­er­ship In­sti­tute’s live streamed event The Em­pow­ered Woman 2020 later this year – says women of­ten let self-doubt limit their lead­er­ship am­bi­tions.

She en­cour­ages women to sup­port each other and cham­pion their suc­cess in busi­ness.

“Self-con­fi­dence is a big is­sue. But you’ve got to fake it un­til you make it,” she says.

“Find role mod­els and men­tors and net­works to plug into that will en­cour­age you and make the (lead­er­ship) jour­ney so much bet­ter.”

Nikki Saun­ders, 30, is chan­nel mar­ket­ing man­ager at Vo­cus Com­mu­ni­ca­tions but hopes to move into a “peo­ple lead­er­ship” role in the fu­ture.

She says sur­round­ing her­self with peo­ple who recog­nise and be­lieve in her work abil­i­ties has been cru­cial to her suc­cess so far, ad­mit­ting she of­ten over­looks her own lead­er­ship skills.

“All women tend to doubt their ca­pa­bil­i­ties,” she says.

“A male will see a (job) ad­ver­tise­ment and say, ‘I can do most of that, I’ll give it a shot’ but I will look at it and say, ‘That’s not for me be­cause they want these skills that I don’t have’.”

HAVE A GO: Nikki Saun­ders, chan­nel mar­ket­ing man­ager at Vo­cus Com­mu­ni­ca­tions says self-doubt should be left out.

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