How great are your people skills?

Lady Barbara Judge - People Skills

Forward Ladies has recently concluded a fantastic series of Women in Leadership Roundtables hosted in partnership with the IoD, Microsoft and HSBC. Lady Barbara Judge, the first female Chairman of the IoD, chaired the final session at Microsoft’s offices in London. The room was packed with amazing women who were pursuing all sorts of incredibly inspiring ventures. Also in attendance was Clare Barclay the GM for Microsoft UK and James Cliffe, HSBC’s Head of UK Business Banking.

Here are some of the lessons Lady Barbara Judge shared with the Roundtable (having learnt these lessons herself along the way):

  1. Know the difference between mentors and sponsors, as women need a good blend of both supporting mentors and sponsors supporting them in their career ambitions.
  2. You need more than one sponsor because some people may not always be available when you need them.
  3. Let people know that you are ready for promotion as your managers may just assume that you are happy where you are and overlook your promotion if you don’t let your ambitions be known.
  4. Ask for what you want and put yourself forward for the top jobs because nobody is going to put you forward for them.
  5. Her mother taught her to make the world a better place just because she was in it and that is still one principle that she is living by.
  6. She shared a personal story which demonstrated the importance of always clarifying a question when you are not exactly sure what you are being asked.
  7. Women need to be helping each other. There are still some women out there who prevent the professional progress of other women – Lady Barbara Judge referred to these women as “blockers”. She stressed the importance of women really working together rather than against each other.

Other stories shared where around the themes of self-belief and confidence and how women should take the lead and embrace challenging opportunities and roles even if they didn’t feel they were ready for them. Clare Barclay made the point that speaking about and seeing yourself in a new, more senior, role helps to create opportunities that ultimately make this into a reality.

I would personally like to take the opportunity to thank Sharon Jandu, Customer Development Manager, Small and Medium Business, Microsoft, Natalie Sykes, IOD’s Regional Director for Yorkshire and the North East and Debra White, HSBC’s Regional Director of Small Businesses in the North of England, for facilitating these incredible inspiring sessions and partnering with Forward Ladies on this important initiative.

Please do join our community and watch out for notification of any future roundtables.