Culture, Leadership

Female Leadership: Key Challenges & How To Overcome Them

In honour of International Women’s Day, we’ve put together a short video that identifies some of the key issues preventing more women from occupying senior business roles. From women entrepreneurs to female world leaders, we have been encountering (and overcoming) leadership challenges for centuries. Today, there are still barriers to be removed in order to have more female leadership within business organisations and politics. Let’s look at how we can break them down.


Yes, women may need to take time out of their career to have children. So how do you accommodate that need and pave the way for their re-entry into a suitable role?

Once they’ve returned to work, what structures, training and procedures are in place to empower them to succeed at being a leader as well as a mother?

The next point to make is about merit.

What tends to happen, when an opportunity arises to place someone in a leadership role, is that we opt for whoever we know has operated in a similar role before. Because the majority of leaders are currently men, this means new opportunities are often given to men—because they’re already on that leadership pathway. Roles must be clearly defined according to the capabilities required so as to give everyone a fighting chance.

So, as an aspiring female leader, what can you do?

1. Lobby for better succession planning and role definition

As mentioned above, roles must be clearly defined and planned to allow for truly merit-based hiring. This is something you can actively push for within your organisation.

Something else to lobby for is proper succession planning. Who’s succession plan are you on? Encourage any leaders that don’t have one to create one, then put your hand up to be on it.

2. Look for a mentor in senior leadership

Seek out a senior mentor and ask them about their career pathway. If possible, learn from senior business women but, ultimately, it’s important to connect with and learn from as many people as you can.

3. Don’t be afraid to reach out

Successful business women aren’t afraid to put their hand up, speak out and have an executive presence. Reach out to senior leaders. Ask questions and put time into cultivating a personal brand around leadership. Don’t for a moment think that you’re wasting somebody’s time by picking their brain. You’re adding value to the organisation by demonstrating a willingness to grow and develop.

Women need to be willing and prepared to be tapped on the shoulder for new roles at any and all times, so it’s important to be “match ready” for interviews. If you’re a professional woman who wants to be better skilled for interviews, appraisals and important conversations that will drive your career forwards, invest in our Job Interview Training course.

The Colin James Method® Facilitators train corporate executives to improve their professional communication skills with a proven methodology. Our highly trained Facilitators and Coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.


How to increase female leadership in your company?

Look at how you can develop career pathways that are designed for women in business juggling familial responsibilities with leadership responsibilities. Cultivate proper role and succession planning so that hiring is truly based on merit

What are the main challenges for female leaders?

A major challenge for female leaders is how to have a family without jeopardising their career trajectory. Another significant issue is the fact that only 18% of CEOs in Australia are women. Succession planning is poor and roles are not always filled based truly on merit.

How do I become a female leader?

If you’re an aspiring female leader, it’s important to prioritise leadership training and professional development, as well as lobby for better role and succession planning within your organisation.

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