Multiskilling will set the agenda for female managers

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first_imgWomanstand to benefit this decade by exploiting their broad skills setWomen’s work-life balance and quality of life is never far from theheadlines. A recent survey of 100 solicitors in 40 law firms showed that 40 percent of female assistants would reject the offer of a partnership and 86 percent of women solicitors are unhappy with their career paths and want flexibleworking hours. The EJ Legal Workplace Survey shows that lawyers believe their firms expectthem to be available around the clock for clients, and that any requests forflexible working would be sneered at. Working all hours is a common problem for managers, especially for womenwith children who are forced to make choices between career and family. In the professional services sector, where staff time is charged out toclients, the problems have grown out of all proportion. The issue has been addressed by one large consultancy, which thinks managingthe expectations of clients should be addressed up front, at the bidding stageof gaining business. With attraction and retention of talented staff high on the agenda,organisations need to look critically at the packages they are offering. The more enlightened firms are recognising the importance of quality of life– and that it is starting to apply to men as well as women. Software firmCisco, for instance, allows its staff to work any time, anywhere. Such issues represent a big challenge for major corporations that operateglobally. Leadership requires a different skills set from those of 10 yearsago. Managing in today’s fast-changing, highly competitive climate meansindividuals need a much more flexible and fluid approach, making use ofnetworks and the involvement of others. This work style plays more strongly into the hands of women, who could wellbenefit over the next decade by moving more freely into the top jobs. But there is still a way to go before women are strongly represented atboard level, as a survey by Catalyst and Opportunity Now last year showed. This is especially true in traditionally male-dominated sectors such asengineering and the City. Organisations in these sectors are a long way offmaking it easier for women to move successfully into top jobs and operate on anequal basis with their male colleagues, including equal pay. So what can women do to help themselves? The first area is confidence. USresearch shows that men will assess themselves far more favourably than theirequally talented female colleagues. For example, during self-assessment forappraisal, men tend to report back more favourably than women. Indeed, men mayoveremphasise their capability, while women stick to a more realistic picture.Women need to learn to be more confident about their abilities and be more preparedto take risks. Women can also play to their strengths of understanding and dealing withfeelings, resulting in enhanced interpersonal skills. Many companies now recognise women’s capability at multi-tasking and intoday’s changing world this is a key skill. These issues will be debated at the Women as Leaders conference at HenleyManagement College on the 13 and 14 June. Jane Cranwell-Ward is programme director for Women as Leaders in the 21stCentury Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Multiskilling will set the agenda for female managersOn 15 May 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img

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