NAWO’s 6 KEY LEARNING PRIORITIES
NAWO has identified six key areas that are critical for women’s engagement and success in operations:
- Authentic Leadership
- Career Management
- Commercial Acumen
- Negotiation and Influencing
- Personal Courage and Confidence
- Building and Leading diverse Teams
All of NAWO’s events and Professional Development Programs are aligned to one or more of these Learning Priorities. Following is a brief overview of each of these priorities, adapted from a report prepared for NAWO by the Centre for Ethical Leadership.
1. AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP
Authentic leaders stay true to their own beliefs, morals, values and principles, making them more relatable and approachable. They take ownership of decisions and admit responsibility for their mistakes. They also recognise the power that comes with their role, and their responsibility for the wellbeing of their employees.
2. CAREER MANAGEMENT
Career management plays an important role in developing the trajectory of women’s working lives. It has been shown to improve employee motivation and commitment, leading to better participation and job performance, and a greater sense of direction and purpose in their careers, while aiding in navigating unexpected challenges that may arise. It also helps to promote focus on pertinent skills that will best assist with future career prospects.
3. COMMERCIAL ACUMEN
Commercial acumen is the ability of an employee to understand and handle issues from a business perspective. This involves making complex organisational decisions regarding competitors and the market to ensure the best outcome for an organisation. While recognised as a core skill for business leaders to be skilled at understanding, many employers find their graduates are lacking in commercial acumen. A leader with a great sense of business acumen can increase efficiency across entire teams, departments, and even organisations.
4. NEGOTIATION AND INFLUENCE
Negotiation and influencing in the workplace can take the form of discussions over resources, deadlines, and strategies to achieve success within an organisation through to determining suitable work schedules, asking for salary increases, or making the case for a promotion. These skills can also be important for swiftly resolving conflicts and making important decisions. Negotiating appropriate workplace arrangements can result in better access to childcare, family leave, flexible work arrangements, part-time work options, and other organisational benefits, all vitally important to women’s career longevity and success.
5. PERSONAL COURAGE AND CONFIDENCE
Courageous acts in the workplace are important, as they allow for the correction of problems in the work environment, such as tackling mistakes, dealing with abuses of power, protecting co-workers in need, or resolving problems with no easy solutions. Improving workplaces through addressing these problems and encouraging moral fortitude can improve or eliminate a vast array of unwanted and negative behaviours. Personal courage and confidence are traits which should be encouraged across the workplace, but are most often found as a characteristic of authentic leaders.
6. Building and Leading Diverse Teams
Research has proven that diverse teams that are led inclusively enjoy greater prospects in terms of high performance, diversity of thought and, ultimately, engagement, innovation and business results. Inclusive leadership, however, is not always a skill that comes naturally. Diverse teams can be harder to put together and manage than homogenous teams. Members of a diverse team will question each other, will question processes and will question their leader more often and, badly managed, they risk becoming disagreeable and dysfunctional. The more comfortable leaders are with leading inclusively, the more team members will be comfortable with difference and the less resistant people will become overall to this dynamic.