Developing Women : The Challenging Situation Companies Put Male Leaders In

Many companies are looking to leverage the value that women bring to corporations and boards. They recognize the strategic advantage of developing diverse talent and growing the number of women leaders.

There is no shortage of excellent articles, books, workshops, and development programs for women to help them succeed in corporations. There are also a multitude of solutions offered to corporations around policy and governance to develop and advance women.

However, research, and practical experience, has shown that development is most effective when owned by leadership. Wisely, many companies are tasking their mid and senior leadership with developing and advancing female talent.

And so, many male leaders find themselves with an important responsibility: developing diverse talent and growing the number of female leaders within their organization. However, there are a few very real obstacles that hinder their success.

  • They have not been provided tools or training.
  • They are unsure how to best provide support and advocacy.
  • They don’t necessarily understand the unique challenges women face.
  • They may be hesitant to ask about or discuss gender issues because they don’t want to risk accidentally offending or appearing sexist.

In essence, we are putting our male leaders in an unfair situation where in which they are unlikely to succeed. This can be very frustrating and/or disheartening for the male leader and the women they are leading and developing.

If companies are serious about growing their women leaders, then we must invest in our male leaders and provide them with the tools to succeed.

Identifying this need, and the lack of resources available, Featherstone Group created LadyBoss as an avenue to provide those valuable tools to male organizational leaders.


Sarah Bodner, PhD is a confidential thought partner for high-level executives and an influential systems thinker who operationalizes the critical link between employees, corporate image, and business strategy

She is the creator of Lady Boss, an executive education program for male leaders that provides them with valuable tools to support the development and career advancement of women leaders and high potentials.