With a commendable focus on female leadership development, Said is the perfect partner for the work we do at the Network.
In 2019, Oxford Saïd launched a new online women’s development programme to give women the confidence and capability to progress their leadership ambitions.
Joining the advanced on-campus Women Transforming Leadership Programme in the open programmes portfolio, this programme addresses the challenge posted by research which suggests an essential first step for aspiring women leaders is the self-acceptance of their leadership ambitions and potential from the outset.
Subsequent research by the team has found that almost half of female leaders interviewed do not immediately see themselves as leaders and only accept their leadership potential when prompted by an external trigger – such as other people saying they have leadership capability.
‘Women are rarely invited to go on leadership journeys. Some also suffer from what is known as "impostor syndrome" which means they don’t believe that they deserve success. That’s why it’s critical for them to take active ownership of their career, ideally early on,’ says Andromachi Athanasopoulou, Associate Fellow at Oxford Saïd and Associate Professor in Organisational Behaviour at Queen Mary University of London. ‘Women need firstly to self-accept that they have leadership potential, which means believing in their imagined future as a leader.’
The study of female CEOs highlighted many of the barriers that women must overcome in order to pursue their leadership ambitions. It suggests that in order to be successful, women need to accept the work-life compromises that they will have to make and improve their resilience to overcome both personal and work barriers.
The new programme seeks to help women navigate these issues by giving them the space and support to develop their leadership ambitions. Delivered over six weeks, teaching is carried out through a series of videos by Saїd Business School faculty and industry experts, plus assessed exercises, reading and self-reflection.
Participants are encouraged to develop new perspectives and ideas to inform insights, which in turn generate action.
Being online, it offers significant flexibility for women to study around their work or home commitments, without the need to study on campus. Participants will be kept on track by regular assignments and have the opportunity to build a powerful network with like-minded participants through online discussions and groupwork activities.
The research which underpins the programme identifies three key activities for women leaders: developing a sense of self-acceptance, investing in self-development and building and using self-management techniques. The programme will offer participants the chance to examine their own leadership strengths, and ways by which they can use those approaches to influence others and successfully negotiate, with a view to get things done.
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