How can I be a leader as a woman without developing imposter syndrome? How can I convince others and truly be heard? These are just some of the questions that come up when we talk about women in leadership. To answer them, the Cala Learning Hub network organized the webinar "Unleash your powerful inner leader: 3 key leadership lessons for women" on October 13th, 2023. This time, it was hosted by professional coaches Marie Stephenson and Joanna Menezes, who together have created a specific coaching programme on this subject. Some twenty members - most of them women - joined them online.

"In their careers, women face both internal barriers, which come from themselves, and external barriers, which are conveyed by society in general", sums up Marie Stephenson. For women aspiring to a management position, the path is therefore strewn with pitfalls. So, where to start?

Lesson 1: Become aware of the headwinds aspiring women leaders face

First, a few key figures to give you an idea of the situation: women make up 51.6% of the population in France and yet their employment rate remains lower than that of men at 48,5% (source: INSEE, 2020 employment survey). "They are more qualified than men," points out Joanna Menezes. In the European Union, over half (55%) of women aged 25-34 years have higher education qualifications, compared to just 45% of men. And yet, women are still under-represented in all decision-making bodies. According to a recent McKinsey report, for every 100 men getting their first promotion, only 87 women are promoted. This calls to mind the glass ceiling.

Joanna Menezes explains: "The term glass ceiling is used to describe the invisible barrier that prevents women from being promoted to managerial or executive positions. But why does this glass ceiling still exist today? "There are many reasons: a work culture based on presenteeism rather than results, lack of female role models, the maternity wall and sexism," she replies.

Lesson 2 : Understand the inner dragons that are holding you back

According to the principles of transactional analysis, our behavior is in some way dictated by the injunctions and beliefs we hear during childhood. These often include "don't be yourself", "don't be important", "don't think", "please me", "be perfect"... Or again: "I'm too young to be taken seriously", "I don't deserve this job", "if I pursue my own interests, my relationships will suffer"... Once identified in coaching, one can take stock of how these inner dragons effect one's behaviours and find ways of overcoming them.

Lesson 3 : Develop strategies to achieve your full leadership potential

- Defining your personal brand
"It starts by asking yourself the right questions: what are my qualities and values? who will I be as a leader? why is this important to me?... details Joanna. Then, to develop this identity as a leader and have it recognized by others, you have to think about how you behave, dress and express yourself".

- Self-Marketing 
In practical terms, this means making yourself visible and seizing opportunities such as taking on a public speaking engagement or taking part in a round-table discussion in order to be recognised as leader

- Be mindful of your reputation
What do others think or say about me? What do they appreciate in my personality? my skills? "Don't hesitate to ask for feedback from people you trust," encourages Joanna.

- Assertive communication
"Rather than being passive or aggressive, the aim is simply to assert yourself," explains Marie. "I respect and express my own opinions and feelings. But I also respect what others think and feel."

- Public speaking
"Adopt confident body language, use powerful narration, release your inner voice and relax," advises Marie.

- Develop your network
According to Joanna, "it's important to identify who can help you, to be present on social networks like Linkedin, to go to events and, above all, to devote time to it every day".

 Would you like to take part in our next free webinars? Check out our programme and save the date!

photo webinar TO USE

 Blog article written by par Laure Blancard :