Developing Female Talent Part 1: The Manager Perspective

In my last blog, I talked about the “MEN” in our name “WOMEN Unlimited”, being deliberate because unless men are engaged in the process of inclusiveness, it is doomed to failure.

I also have a way of looking at the “M-A-N” in “WOMAN.” I see it as pointing to “MANagers,” both male and female, whose wholehearted involvement and support are essential to help women advance.

That’s why in helping top organizations attract, develop and retain female talent, we also help managers support their high potential women. Many managers tell us that as a result of their women attending our programs, their own learning curve is facilitated. As the women on their team progress through a program, the managers gain a better sense…of how barriers women experience influence their careers…of how to encourage their female talent to build on their strengths…and of recognizing where changes need to happen in themselves and in the corporate culture.

During our 22 years involved with developing female talent, we have frequently heard from managers on the challenges their women team members face. Among the most commonly cited:

  • Navigating the corporate landscape to drive results and manage their careers
  • Unwillingness to take risks
  • Recognizing and seizing opportunities
  • Building effective networks and business relationships
  • Demonstrating strategic thinking

We have also gained a broad based, cross-industry perspective on best practices used by managers to develop their high potential women. Often, these best practices come out of the “secondary learning” gained by managers as a result of their female team member attending a WOMEN Unlimited program:

  • Giving and getting honest feedback both in reviews and on an ongoing basis
  • Understanding the perspectives and experiences of the women on their team
  • Helping women take accountability for managing their careers
  • Providing opportunities for growth that are not just about promotions
  • Assessing their own attitudes towards women advancing
  • Helping women move from a tactical to a strategic perspective

At WOMEN Unlimited, we address the issues facing both managers and their female talent with an organizational solution approach. We understand that inclusiveness won’t happen just because a woman attends a program, or a manager appreciates her talent. It happens when they and their organization are committed to growth and change company-wide.

With that in mind, this blog is the first in a three-part series. The next blog will focus on the perspective of mentors in developing female talent, and the third will take a look at how high potential women themselves see their journey to inclusiveness.

Dr. Rosina L. Racioppi
President & CEO
WOMEN Unlimited, Inc.