5 Steps to Developing as a Woman Leader in the City

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Are you responsible for developing the women leaders and aspiring leaders in your organisation? Maybe you are a women leader yourself.

Perhaps you are an experienced manager or professional seeking leadership but are struggling to progress your career as far or as fast as you would like to. As a result, you do not feel able to contribute to your full potential and are not receiving the recognition you seek.

The Key Challenges for Women Leaders in the City

Do the following challenges resonate with you? Throughout my 20 plus years experience of developing leaders in the City, I have repeatedly seen the following issues blocking extremely able women from progressing:

  • Insufficient impact and presence and lack of a strong personal brand
  • Lowered productivity and overwhelm through being pulled in too many directions at once and poor work-life balance
  • A belief that doing a good job will be enough and not seeking sponsors
  • Discomfort with networking both internally and externally
  • Being insufficiently strategic and too stuck in the detail
  • A lack of strategic career planning
  • Reduced confidence and lack of self belief as a leader

How to Breakthrough into Leadership – Create A SHIFT

In order to help women to develop as leaders, I have developed a five step SHIFT Leadership Framework:

  1. S – Strengthen Your Presence – A strong personal brand enables you to be authentic, credible and connect with people at all levels. Your brand also includes managing your energetic presence, personal image and communication, including body language.
  2. H – Harness Your Potential – This includes identifying and capitalising on your strengths as well as being clear about which weaker areas are “mission critical” and maximising time and energy. Creating balance between work and other aspects of life is also vital for sustainable career success.
  3. I – Initiate Supportive Relationships – It is necessary to develop supportive relationships within your current work setting- including sponsors – as well as in a wider professional network. It is important to be able to initiate these relationships, enhance your influence and also handle difficult relationships.
  4. F – Focus on Strategy – To be a successful leader requires developing more of a “big picture” approach and increasingly focusing on the strategic aspects of your role and the business as a whole. It is also helpful to take a strategic approach to your career as a whole.
  5. T – Think Like a Leader – Thinking like a leaders underlies all the other aspects of the SHIFT framework. It is necessary to develop a leadership mindset. This includes handling the “little voice” of doubt that we all have in our heads and also learning to let go of some of what we have excelled at to date in order to take on even higher level leadership tasks.

To Find out More

If you would like to learn more how you can make a SHIFT or how you can help support the women leaders and future leaders in your organisation to do so, please visit:

Women’s Career Accelerator : One Day Breakthrough Workshop - London - Thursday 13 July

For a hands-on experience of how YOU can make a SHIFT in your career, we would love to invite you to join us on Thursday 13 July 2017. For more information and to book your place, please follow the link below:


Please feel free to share this link with any women in your organisation or wider network who are seeking to develop as leaders.

Catherine Cuffley is an executive coach and founder of Thinking Choices Limited. www.thinkingchoices.com. She specialises in working with organisations in the City of London to help them to develop their women leaders. She works with senior professional women in banks, insurance companies, law firms and management consultancies etc. to support them in achieving their next leadership position. This may be a place on the board or indeed their first leadership position and everything in between.

Catherine is the author of the forthcoming book, SHIFT: Insights from a City Coach on Succeeding as an Authentic Woman Leader and she also speaks at conferences and events, such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) on the application of neuroscience to leadership, amongst other topics.

Catherine has spent many years in the City in a range of Human Resources and Learning and Development roles. She has also worked as a Change Management Consultant in financial services organisations. She has repeatedly seen the way in which many talented women in City organisations are not quite reaching the more senior positions they seek. Catherine’s mission is to support women in fulfilling their potential and maximising their contribution whilst enabling organisations to optimise their female talent.

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