Still Learning After All These Years: Why Leadership Training For Women Is Key

Take The Lead President and Co-founder Gloria Feldt creates and leads training programs to enhance leadership.

Take The Lead President and Co-founder Gloria Feldt creates and leads training programs to enhance leadership.

Back to school season may inspire entrepreneurs and business leaders not to buy the latest character backpack or a new pair of jeans, but to augment skills in training programs and leadership courses.

Some may opt to enroll in training offered by an organization or employer; others pursue courses and training sought independently. Perhaps some may apply to a formal management program from a university or earn an MBA at night over the span of a few years online or as a commuter student in evening classes on a campus.

Whatever the choice, the decision to enhance your skills to become a better leader or employee, is a positive step to possibly a promotion or a new career altogether. And in terms of compliance with the latest regulations and news, it is always best to know what you need to learn or refresh in order to stay current. Those are outcomes from training and development programs.

“Four in every 10 graduates with MBA degrees in the United States are women, according to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. And MBA programs are continually working to close that gap. In 2005, the average MBA class, based on the Economist’s ranking contained 30 percent women. In 2015, that class ratio had raised to 34 percent women,” writes Kelly Vo in MetroMBA.

“According to GMAC, the MBA candidate pool contains less than 40 percent women, which means that more likely than not, as a woman in graduate school, you’ll be in the minority. Several factors go into this. First, an MBA is costly. An MBA from a top school costs between $100,000 to $200,000, and as mentioned previously, women make $400,000 less over their lifetime than men, so this cost is far greater for women,” Vo writes.

Other leadership training programs, such as  Take The Lead’s programs, including the 9 Power Tools Course, workshops, and customized leadership development programs, can augment or change a career path.

Staying updated or ahead of the trends with training programs and leadership enhancement can offer you networking opportunities—as well as mentoring—and fresh perspectives on your work. The Glassbreakers Take The Lead initiative can be a key step to mentorship.

Staying updated with training programs and leadership enhancement can offer you networking opportunities.

“While strong women leaders are lifelong learners always eager to add new skills, experiences, and competencies to their professional toolkit – they also focus on developing others,” writes Caroline Dowd-Higgins, executive director of career and professional development at Indiana University Alumni Association, in Huffington Post.

You may decide it is worth it for you on your career path for obvious reasons– to move up, to learn more and to become a better leader. But why would a company want you to further your development, education and skillset and encourage leadership training for women? Simple. It isn’t just altrusistic, it makes economic sense.

“Companies that don’t make women an integral part of their workforce, from top to bottom, miss out on a tremendous advantage. I’m not talking about equal opportunity for quota’s sake. I’m talking about sound business sense,” writes Rick Goings, chairman, CEO of Tupperware Brands Corp. in World Economic Forum.

“I’ve said it before: it’s a ridiculous economic decision not to empower women. The most important task of CEOs is to ensure the perpetuation and profitability of their company, and diversity and equality in the enterprise improves the bottom line, plain and simple,” Goings writes.

Many experts agree.

“Building leadership competency is a priority for every organization truly committed to ensuring sustained growth and viability,” writes Terri Armstrong Welch in Association for Talent Development.

In Management Help, Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC outlines the top reasons to invest in training and development, particularly in leadership training for women, from an employer standpoint.

  • Increased job satisfaction and morale among employees

  • Increased employee motivation

  • Increased efficiencies in processes, resulting in financial gain

  • Increased capacity to adopt new technologies and method

  • Increased innovation in strategies and products

  • Reduced employee turnover

So what’s in it for you?

“Leadership expert Rosalinde Torres acknowledges that there are a ton of great leadership programs out there, but despite the availability of these resources, more than half of companies have a talent gap for leadership roles,” writes  Larry Kim in Inc.

It is up to you individually to seek out what skills or tools you need to have the professional life you aspire to have.

It is up to you to seek out what skills you need to have the professional life you aspire to have.

Pamela Mitchell, founder and CEO of the Reinvention Institute, endorsed leadership and executive training. Speaking on a recent panel Women of Power Summit 2016 BE Smart session, Black Enterprise reported Mitchell said: “We manage our careers today by building a constellation of skills that no one else possesses. This is a very powerful career strategy that helps you to stand out.”

If you want to approach an employer or organization to support leadership development programs,  Shannon Kluczny, vice president of client success at Biz Library, writes that you need buy-in from the top.

“One of the keys to a successful training program, and possibly the most important, is having leadership buy-in from the top down. Having leadership support helps drive the importance of a program, assist with accountability and establish appropriate expectations,” Kluczny writes.

In addition to understanding the strategy, the timing, the budget and much more, Kluczny writes: “Be certain to show enthusiasm, focus and credibility. Recognize that you are the champion and communicate that you’re prepared to take responsibility and own successes and failures. Firmly express that you’re willing and ready to do what it takes.”

About the Author

Michele Weldon is editorial director of Take The Lead, an award-winning author, journalist, emerita faculty in journalism at Northwestern University and a senior leader with The OpEd Project. @micheleweldon