KPMG just released their Women’s Leadership Study which found that while the majority of women want to hold leadership positions many find it difficult to envision themselves as leaders. According to their survey of more than 3,000 professional and college women in the United States, 6 in 10 women said they aspire to be a senior leader of a company or organization and more than half aspire to serve on a board. But 6 in 10 women also said that they find it hard to see themselves as a leader when sharing how they perceive themselves and 56 percent of working women said they were more cautious, as women, about taking steps toward leadership roles.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways that women can develop leadership skills and increase their confidence. Cost, complexity and time commitment vary- but the key is to find the right fit for you. Consider asking your employer to invest in your professional development. Many companies and organizations will pay for classes and trainings. Your boss might also be willing to give you a project that enhances your leadership skills. Sometimes, just asking is all it takes.

1. Attend industry specific seminars. Almost every industry from law to accounting to public policy has associations that put on seminars and conferences. Universities and companies also host industry and issue specific events that are a great way for women to hear from seasoned executives in their profession, learn tips for advancement and find out about new trends and developments in their field. Becoming more immersed in your field and further developing your expertise is one of the best ways to move up the career ladder.

2. Seek out online training. There are number of free, helpful online resources that can guide your leadership development. For example, the website Mind Tools has a large index of articles offering advice on topics such as how to delegate effectively, how to build a positive team and how to be an authentic and ethical leader.

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Written by Dr. Bernice Ledbetter

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