I recently read a Forbes.com article discussing how women should be helping other women up the career ladder. The article by Carol Hymowitz discussed the best ways women are mentoring other women in Fortune 500 organizations and a few of her points really stood out for me.
As the article explains:
During the course of my career I’ve met many executive women who seemed far more intent on promoting themselves than championing women who were climbing the ranks behind them.
And gauging from the preference many women employees have for male over female bosses – a choice they’ve expressed in several recent studies — a lot of women managers could benefit from coaching on how to be better mentors.
While I definitely agree that coaching should receive more focus than it does, it’s hard for me to believe that this is just the case with bosses of one gender. I have worked for plenty of male bosses and there is room for improvement across the board —for both sexes and in organizations of all sizes. Most managers need to be better mentors, and organizations need to give them the resources to do so.
The article uses the example of Frontier Communications and their CEO, Maggie Wilderotter, who shares this insight on coaching:
“When I think about talent, I think about someone’s potential and capability more than their experience,” she explains.
This is the most effective and progressive way to approach coaching and talent management as a whole. It reflects a strategic long-term thinking approach to an organization’s talent when managed properly.
The article also examines the approach of Margaret Maxwell Zagel of Grant Thornton, and how she is helping to mentor and manage female staff at her global accounting and consulting company.
Zagel doesn’t have children herself, but she has offered flexible or part-time schedules to several talented attorneys who are raising young children. As a result, she has retained her best staff, she says, and gotten “great work” from women who are grateful that their family needs are being addressed. “They work their hearts out” and are loyal, Zagel says.
I appreciate the value of what Zagel is offering her employees, and I believe this flexible, people-first approach is one that should be adopted with all employees regardless of their gender. The reality is that most of people would welcome some flexibility, perhaps even more so than a bonus or other perks, so offering such benefits improves engagement and retention.
These are just a few examples of how organizations are driving value from talent by using practical, proven approaches to talent management —coaching, development, flexible work arrangements and more.