The first evening in Stockholm is dedicated to spring on the rooftop of the restaurant TAK and the Hotel at Six. People are enjoying music, cocktails, and each other’s company, their laughter encouraged by the soft light and mild evening temperature. Just as the birds are singing and celebrating that spring is finally here, you can feel that winter's longing for light is replaced with positivity, appreciation, and kindness.
The perfect place and way to end the first day in the 'Becoming an Authentic Leader' program for a group of female leaders from a large organization across Nordic. We had a day together in a room of love and kindness with a focus on unlocking the participants' potential as individuals and as a team. The aim of the program is to focus on what is right with people instead of what is wrong and trying to fix it. Building a network within their organization that will make it possible to collaborate, elevate, and help each other. Last but not least, retaining female leadership talents and encouraging them to become leaders that will transform the current leadership demographic and culture.
The key to authentic leadership is knowing and investing in one’s strengths. All participants have had a CliftonStrengths assessment and a coaching feedback session. When we know our strengths, we are more likely to focus on what is right for us and take ownership of our own careers. This leads to becoming sustainable leaders who no longer try to emulate others and move away from learned behaviors that may serve others but not necessarily oneself.
'Becoming an Authentic Leader' is a program that encourages leaders to do what they do best and be true to their authentic selves. The program acts as a catalyst for daring to explore one’s own leadership style and being a leader that challenges the status quo, old ways of leadership that no longer serve the people in organizations. We encourage leaders to be true to themselves and their strengths in the necessary creation of a culture with psychological safety, appreciation of authenticity, and purpose-driven engagement. Developing sustainable leadership that can create followership, facilitate conversations about well-being, and foster an inclusive and empowering culture that can attract, develop, and retain people – especially Gen Z.
Together, we explore the opportunities and barriers at each stage of the participants' careers that can be different for them as women. Knowing the challenges can help the participants overcome them and create change for themselves and others on the road to authenticity, success, and happiness. Speak up and be an advocate for other women. Increase awareness around the fact that female leaders in any given organization are more likely to experience:
• Double standards.
• Being more severely scrutinized.
• Higher pressure to perform (but not compete).
• Executing more office housework.
• Expectations from others – the majority.
• The more successful they become, the less likable they often become - it is a trap for most women.
• Stereotyping and unconscious biases. The program supports participants in aiming for promotions to leadership positions and even being the face of change within the organization, representing a long-needed transformation. Understanding that when women enter positions of authority and influence, they are held to a different standard of likability. This double standard acts as a glass ceiling for women and stands as an obstacle toward realizing gender equality.
Authentic Leaders strongly encourages women to say yes to promotion because they have most likely already done more than expected to deserve it. Women will never be promoted just because they are women but because they deserve it. Ignore the coffee machine gossip. Be the quota. Be the role model you have been missing. Dance like no one’s watching. Lead your own life and career in a sustainable, authentic, inclusive way that is rewarding to yourself and others. This program helps you love yourself, your strengths, and become the authentic leader your organization is longing for and desperately needs.
Written by Charlotte Søndergaard the 5 of April 2022