One of the most powerful ways we can balance for better this International Women’s Day as leaders – no matter at what level – is to mentor and coach the next generation, building their confidence and empowering them to become the leaders of tomorrow.
I’ve been a leader in the auditing world for more than 35 years (longer than I’d like to admit) and have found easy ways to invest in my teams that have had an immense payoff. One of my career goals year after year is to not only to empower the women around me to thrive, but to build up the confidence of everyone on my team. Here are some simple tips that have worked for me:
1. Give others a voice. I really believe it is important that everyone at the table has a say and I have often been amazed by the results. Surprise, surprise, the most senior does not always give the best perspective.
2. The best ideas often come from those that are quiet and take time to think. They just may be too polite to speak ahead of the not so quiet people. Intentionally create opportunities for them to voice their opinions.
3. Bring the less experienced people on your team to meetings with you. It’ll give them a deeper understanding of the business.
4. I do not “rewrite” what someone has written unless they have completely missed the boat. To build skills you need to allow people to build their confidence. Why do I think I can write better – because I am older?
5. The same goes for presenting. It is easy for me to take on speaking opportunities but its better when I can step back and push others forward to get the exposure. They may feel the nerves but if you help them through that, the experience they gain will be invaluable.
6. Give on the spot feedback. When my team members are presenting, I often watch the body language of how everyone in the room responds, so right after I can give feedback to them on what worked well, and what didn’t work as well.
Research tells us that women are more cautious in their careers compared to men and less likely to take risks.* I believe regardless of your gender or cultural background, nothing builds confidence more than stepping right into it.
Ultimately, to be an inclusive leader you need to build up those around you, and let others lead. A rising tide lifts all boats.