Women make up more than half of the workforce but occupy only 35% of senior leadership positions. When women are empowered to lead, everyone benefits. Appointing more women to leadership roles can lead to greater productivity, creativity and overall performance. Decades of psychological research confirm this.

So, what can organizations do to get more women leaders at the helm? They can do more to set them up for success. Joel Garfinkle, an executive coach and author, says many companies have female leaders hiding in plain sight. In this issue of PromoPro Daily, we share his tips to help them shine.

Help them stand out. Garfinkle points out that traditional leadership thinking tends to reward those who speak up early and often. Women may not be the most assertive on your team, so look for ways to bridge this gap. Help them find ways to speak up in ways that feel true to their character. He recommends challenging your hidden female leaders to speak up at least once in meetings, in a way that works for them.

Help them get noticed. Many people believe that if they do good work, their work will speak for itself. Women may be more prone to feel this way, believing they shouldn’t self-promote too much. Garfinkle advises organizations to make sure women are recognized for their great work. Challenge them to “own” their achievements and coach them to never downplay a task or project to make it seem easier than it really was.

Help them get respect. Some people may need a nudge to be more assertive. Garfinkle says women are sometimes described as either “too soft” or “too cold.” This can be a fine line to balance. He recommends advocating for your hidden female leaders and making sure the executive team knows about the great work they’re doing.

Help them get ahead. Once you’ve given your hidden female leaders more visibility and better perception, Garfinkle says you should give them opportunities to prove their talents. Help make sure their name is discussed when opportunities are brought up and that they’re considered for promotions and big projects.

Don’t overlook the talented women on your team. You may have untapped potential right in front of you. There’s no simple solution to achieving a more diverse leadership team, but you can start by identifying your hidden talent. Consider the points above to help bring more female leaders into the spotlight.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Joel Garfinkle has been named one of the country’s top 50 executive coaches. He is a Master Certified Coach and the author of 11 books.