Two weeks ago, I attended the ITAC Women is Leadership Forum and came home equal parts inspired and depressed. One of the statistics mentioned at the event was that back 20 years ago women made up approx. 16% of IT leadership. Despite all our efforts, we have not increased that number at all. We have all heard the dismal statistics about how slowly the dial is moving on women in leadership positions in all sectors (sometimes going backwards) and this made me think, what are some tactical things we can do as women (and men) to move more qualified women up the ranks?
1. Build your Wolf Pack.
Start small. Find another woman that you work well with and compliments your skill set and grow your one-lady wolf pack. This is not just a Rom Com best friend figure to support your every ambition. This is someone who fills in your blind spots, is your go-to for difficult projects and whom you support in their career efforts as well. Men have built their own wolf packs for generations, now it’s time for the lady wolf pack.
Once you grow your wolf pack by one, look for two more (10 points to you if you got the Hangover reference there). Continue growing your wolf pack until you have a network of ladies that you would turn to in crunch time to pull together and “knock it out of the park”.
Continue this until you have a solid network of women in all departments in your company and in your greater business network.
2. Pick the best option for promotion and help PUSH!
To be a valuable contributor to the Lady Wolf Pack, you must be willing to follow sometimes. We will all reach our goals if we support each other. Take stock of the women in your wolf pack and decide who is the strongest candidate and motivation to move up in the ranks. Once you determine who it is, get everyone in the wolf pack to help push her up there. Her merit and skill are a given, she is in your lady wolf pack and would not be there if she wasn’t awesome. This step is about rallying the troops to promote this person, support her in her role and get the word out that she is in fact awesome.
3. Once you have moved up- Turn Around and PULL!
Once you have moved up into the leadership ranks (due in part because of the amazing support of your wolf pack) turn around and help pull the next candidate up to your level while the rest of the pack push’s. Pay it back to your wolf pack by helping the next person reach the next level of their career.
Lather, Rinse and Repeat these three steps integrating more people into your wolf pack. (Male and Female, the best wolf packs have all genders represented to push and pull the best candidates up the ladder).
Think about it, when a new CEO is hired into a company s/he will take stock of the current executive team, keep those that fill blind spots and gaps in their capabilities and slowly move along the rest replacing them with their trusted team or wolf pack. Be like a CEO, create a wolf pack, work together to better the team and continue growing your wolf pack to reach optimal success.