Part 3: Women in Leadership Roundtables – In Partnership with IoD, HSBC & Microsoft

part 3 round table

Roundtable 3: Newcastle 9 June 2015

Trusting our teams and how vibrating jewellery could be the key to achieving a work-life balance

Forward Ladies is working in partnership with HSBC, Microsoft and the Institute of Directors to deliver a national series of Women in Leadership and Business Roundtables. On 9 June 2015 the Roundtable moved to Team Valley Business Park, Gateshead, where a packed boardroom of local business women and a couple of business men from the professional and commercial sectors gathered to discuss the challenges they currently face in business, how technology can assist and strategies to improve diversity within business. Below is a  summary of the varied discussion which followed:

On challenges facing women in business and leadership 

  • Broadband and wifi connectivity needs to be consistently reliable and fast in order for us to achieve true work mobility.
  • Whilst we are often good at setting rules for our children to ensure they take time out from their various screens, we are not always very good at doing this ourselves.
  • Some women reported feeling patronised over technology and related situations where they had faced an assumption that they would neither know nor care about technological issues which arose in their businesses.
  • There was discussion about how best to manage “technology interruptions” – how to stay focused on the task in hand and not end up butterflying onto emails that were constantly arriving throughout the day.
  • Lack of self-esteem was identified as a challenge not only for women but also for men. There was anecdotal evidence of women failing to put themselves forward for business opportunities and promotions because they didn’t feel100% ready to do so.
  • Some women at the meeting expressed the view that women tend to be less willing to negotiate their own salary packages than their male colleagues.
  • One interesting observation on the downside of women’s collaborative approach was that this can sometimes lead to women masking their own achievements. Instead of reporting to managers that “I have led my team to victory on this project”, women instead championed the work of their team sometimes at their own expense: “See what my great team has delivered”.

Top tips on use of technology …

One woman who was a self-confessed enthusiastic user of technology, reported that she had invested in some smart jewellery which synchronised with her mobile and discretely vibrated if a call came through to her mobile from a pre-programmed hot list of callers. That way she could attend a dinner function but not miss taking an important call! Whilst there was a mixed reaction around the table to this, one identified plus was that it would avoid the user constantly checking their mobile during the dinner. A number of top tips on how to get the best out of technology were then shared:

  • Use technology to improve your mobility (one woman had travelled the world with her family and, through the clever use of technology, her clients never realised she had left her office!)
  • Bring together amazing teams from around the globe to work on a project through using technology without incurring the expense or negative environmental impact of physically meeting together
  • Consider “reverse mentoring” to brush up on your IT skills – you can learn a lot from the IT-savvy younger generations

Conclusions and top take aways…

  • When it is time to take a proper break from work, trust in the well-trained team you have developed and let them run the business properly and with confidence in your absence
  • If you want to improve your negotiation skills, try running your own business. Suddenly you will have all the incentive you need to drive a hard bargain!
  • Look for a mentor with the correct skill set and characteristics to ensure that you get the most out of the relationship​

To find out more about how Forward Ladies can help you get the most out of  technology particularly using Microsoft Office Products, click here

To find out about the bespoke personal development training programme Forward Ladies offers for women business leaders with businesses with current turnover less than £500,000, click here