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Recent KPMG Study Shows Women Need More Confidence to Lead

June 18, 2015

While women may aspire to leadership roles, many can’t actually visualize themselves in those jobs, reported a recent study by KPMG.  Potential Unlimited, a Toronto-based career development firm that specializes in women’s career development, calls on corporations and individuals to put some serious focus on initiatives to support women’s development and confidence if they want to build successful, diverse senior management teams and Boards.

“We continue to see reports and data showing that women want to be senior leaders,” said Carey-Ann Oestreicher, CEO, Potential Unlimited, as she references a comprehensive report with similar findings, the Women in Insurance Leadership Insight Report. “We all know women are smart enough to take the helm, but I see in the work I do as an Executive Coach that women need to build their confidence to believe they really are good enough. And then, support has to be extended, for both women and men, to help them integrate a successful career as well as life outside of work.  The focus should be on results, not face time.”

According to the KPMG study, six in 10 women said they aspire to be a senior leader of a company or organization, and more than half aspire to serve on a Board. But six in 10 also said that they find it hard to see themselves as a leader when sharing how they perceive themselves, and 56 percent of working women said they were more cautious, as women, about taking steps toward leadership roles.

When asked what training and development skills were needed to help move more women into leadership roles in the future, women cited leadership training (57%), confidence building (56%), decision-making (48%), networking (47%), and critical thinking (46%) most often. Professional working women believe it is critical for companies to support a woman’s development in her 20s (80%) and career advancement in her 30s (61%).

Potential Unlimited’s Top Tips for Female Leaders and High Potentials:

1. Be true to yourself. Trying to be somebody you are not will not get you ahead in the long-term.

2. Speak up. Share your ideas – they could make the difference.

3. It’s okay to take risks and make mistakes. Many women have developed the ‘perfectionist’ gene and are afraid to take risks in their careers. Or if they do make that leap, they worry about it and cause themselves a lot of undue stress.

4. Get in shape to go the distance. If you aspire to the senior ranks, then get your mind and body in shape by implementing regular exercise, healthy diet and meditation/yoga into your life to help manage your stress levels.

5. Work with a coach and mentor. There is no regulated training for coaches, but Potential Unlimited coaches have all completed the Coaches Training Institute program. Before hiring a coach, research his/her qualifications.

6. Don’t try to be all things to all people. We know this doesn’t work in business so why do women continually do this in their own lives? The reality is that work-life balance at the senior level is about deciding on priorities and delegating or outsourcing the rest.

7. Sell yourself. Women tend to be modest and like to support others, which is great for building relationships but they need to promote themselves too. Ensure the president and boss (if they differ) know the details of your successful projects. Also, these conversations are a great chance to build relationships. And, people often promote those capable individuals they also like.

8. Find a networking group of other women to join for support. If you can’t find a suitable one, create it yourself!

Find out more about Potential Unlimited’s programs for women!

Sign up now for Potential Unlimited’s free newsletter with tips to elevate your career and life!

Potential Unlimited is a career development firm that works with individuals and companies around the world to help them reach their full potential. This organization offers a variety of services such as executive, life and career coaching as well as training, strategic consulting services and retreats at world-class destinations in the area of executive stress management/holistic leadership.

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