About the blog

Welcome to 3minuteleadership.org and thanks for visiting.
Over the last few years, we have been observing different forms of leadership and management and thinking about what works in today’s workplace.

Striving to be a good leader myself and create an environment where individuals can thrive, I have spent much time pondering how to help people to achieve and deliver to the best of their ability.  

Through this site, I plan to share leadership lessons in bitesize chunks of 3 minutes or less.  I hope that the blog can provide a space for likeminded people to share thoughts and ideas on leadership for the 21st Century.

By doing this, I hope that we can change the way we lead and transform the workplace, developing people that are inspired and empowered to make a difference in the world.

 

About the elephants…

I’ve chosen the elephant image because the matriarch influences the herd more than any other.  She has a quiet and confident leadership style, setting the direction and allowing others to follow.

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How to cope with stress in 5 easy steps

Today, my colleague Max experienced a bit of a travel disaster which led to high levels of stress which impacted the rest of her day.  It was already going to be a difficult one with tight timescales to meet but missing a train when you are meant to be interviewing people creates the kind of problems we would all like to be without.

This is how Max’s day started…

She had the plan all worked out.  Get up at 6.30am, get self ready, get the children up and ready, grab Weetabix for children’s breakfast, leave the house at 7.35am, drop children at granny’s house with aforementioned cereal supplies, leave granny’s at 7.50am and head to the station with plenty of time to make the 8.55am train to north Wales.

Things were going well. All was on track. Until…

8.15am – traffic begins to slowdown.  Not to worry.  Plenty of time.

8.23am – traffic comes to a standstill.  It’s ok.  Don’t panic, I can still make it.

8.30am – the realisation sets in that it is going to be a real struggle to get to the station in time.

By this point, every light is red, the counter is moving ever closer to the 8.55am departure time and the usually helpful notifications were coming through frequently telling her how little time was left until the train’s departure.

By the time Max was able to park, there were just 12 minutes to go and still an 8 minute walk to get to the station and a ticket to collect. Still thinking that by some miracle, she might be able to get that train, she ran as fast as she could to the station, dragging a suitcase and rucksack behind her.

Of course, nothing went smoothly at the station either and she finally reached the platform to see the train pull away.

So what did she do to manage her stress throughout this situation that might help when living through your own nightmare morning?

1)      Breathe – the first thing to do when you feel stressed is to breathe.  Your heart rate increases in these situations and you feel hot under the collar so if you can get your breathing under control, you can get the situation under control also.

2)      Plan for the worst but hope for the best – throughout the whole time, Max was hopeful that she would make it and did everything she could to get there in time.  However, in the back of her mind, she was thinking ‘what is the next best thing if the current plan doesn’t work out?’.

3)      Take stock and get some perspective – yes, she really wanted to be on the train and support colleagues with the interviews but if she didn’t make it, others could manage or she might be able to rearrange the times and get the next train instead.

4)      Get support – technology means that your support network is never far away so Max sent a what’s app message to her family who referred her to point 1 – breathe (it really is number 1 for a reason!).  She then texted her colleagues who also told her not to worry.

5)      Be thankful – the morning didn’t go well but there are still things to be grateful for such as the health app which sent another notification saying she had done 12 minutes of cardio.

Does this resonate with you? What are your tips for dealing with stressful situations? Share them in the comments below.

 

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5 Hallowe’en behaviours that leaders should ditch for the rest of the year

It’s that time of year again when many people enjoy dressing up in a scary costume and commemorating the dead.

All hallows eve (hallowe’en) is a festival that remembers those who have passed on and celebrates the souls of the departed.

Around about this time, lots of us delight in making ourselves look freakish.  Children roam the streets, knocking on the doors of strangers hoping to find treats and we all wonder who will be crowned the apple bobbing champion for this year.

When it comes to work, we recognise that the Hallowe’en theme is not something to aim for all year round so we thought we would share seasonal blog which sets out 5 typical hallowe’en behaviours that leaders should ditch for the rest of the year.

1)      Be a horror – do your staff think you’re a nightmare?  Maybe you change your mind all the time about what you want from them, criticise their hard work and knock their confidence.  If you are a horror all year and not just hallowe’en, they may well decide they’ve had enough of the bad dreams and move on to something better.

2)      Scare people – if you regularly make people worry by convincing them that bad things will happen rather than reassuring them about the future, it is likely that they will eventually have one scare too many and leave you to chase away the ghouls by yourself.

3)      Wear a mask – whilst one of the most fun things about hallowe’en is making yourself unrecognisable, if your team are constantly trying to figure out who you are, you will be missing out on the benefits of authentic leadership and the loyalty and warmth that can come with it.

4)      Trick people – if you like to lull people into a false sense of security and then change your mind or if you delight in catching people out, you are likely to be making people feel insecure which won’t encourage them to hang around for long.

5)      Forget the treats – on hallowe’en, it’s important to remember the treats for that inevitable knock on the door.  In the workplace, you should remember to treat people every day by offering rewards for their efforts. Just a simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way towards making people feel valued.  This will ultimately keep them working hard for you and could stop them running away in fright.

Have you had any scary experiences in your office that need to be banished for good?  Tell us your experiences in the comments below.

 

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Photo credit: http://www.pixabay.com

If you want to nurture a team of people that work hard, do well & stay with you, ask yourself these questions

This morning, we shared an item published on Guardian Careers in a feature called ‘What I wish I could tell my boss’.  The piece was entitled ‘before you became my manager, I loved my job’ and it tells the story of someone who went from having a ‘nurturing, efficient and kind’ boss to one that was much more controlling and disempowering.  It raises some important points, the key one being – are you making your people miserable?

A few years ago, a speaker at the Wales public service summer school, asked a room packed full of leaders and managers from the public and voluntary sector to consider how they treat their teams and how people perceive you as a result.

The speaker took us through an exercise where she invited us to close our eyes and imagine… it’s your last day of work ever.  You have reached retirement and the office has thrown a farewell party for you.  In the room are people from your teams throughout your career and they have brought their families along with them.

Look at the faces around you.  How do they look?  Are they warm and happy because you’ve been supportive and helped them to achieve throughout their working lives so they went home every night feeling satisfied and fulfilled?  Or do they look tired and miserable? Even angry? Because you have made their lives difficult and caused them to go home stressed, fed-up and tired of an endless struggle to get things done to your satisfaction.

If you want to reach that day and have a room full of people ready to celebrate with you and wanting to shake your hand, ask yourself these questions below and see if there are any improvements you can make.
1)      Are you encouraging people to speak up and taking on board their views?  I am shocked sometimes by the team meetings I attend where people won’t speak up.  Often this is because Managers don’t want to be questioned on their decisions they just want people to do as they are told.  In the worst case scenario, Managers will actually put people down in front of the group which is a sure fire way to shut people up permanently.  However, it won’t get you a team of engaged employees who are willing to tell you if they see an issue on the horizon and you will miss out on all those great ideas they really want to take forward.

2)      Are you wasting their time or failing to not treating them with basic courtesy? It seems that sometimes, managers forget that these people are adults and professionals in their own right with busy lives and schedules.  If you are making them wait for a meeting that you could never make anyway or forcing them to wait outside your office like school children, perhaps you need to rethink your approach.

3)      Are you micro-managing?  We all hate it when we are asked to do something and not allowed to get on with it.  If you find that you are struggling to let go of a task once delegated and wanting to control every last detail, think about whether the things you want are really worth demoralising someone else for.  And if they are that important, how can you make sure you set those things out at the beginning so you can step back, confident that the final product will be to your liking.

4)      Do you tear apart their good work?  If someone has worked hard to deliver a piece of work that they think is worthwhile, is there a benefit to pulling it apart?  Giving constructive feedback is useful and I’m sure they want to know how they can improve but keep it in perspective and keep criticism to yourself.  Be specific about any improvements you would like to see rather than making sweeping statements about what you don’t like.  Also consider whether it’s wrong because you gave poor direction when setting the task.  If this is the case, consider giving them a break and giving better instruction next time.

5)      Do you give them the opportunity to give feedback on your management style and adapt your approach or do you expect them to adapt to you?  In the regular 1-1s I have with my staff, I often ask them if they are happy with the way they are being managed.  I’ve realised that it isn’t one style fits all and if I want to get the best out of them, I need to adapt my style to suit their needs.  High performance means supporting them to achieve and I can only do that if I understand who they are and what they need from me.

6)      Are you asking them to do something you know they struggle with and being critical when they don’t meet your high standards?  For a team to succeed, individuals should play to their strengths and be recognised for what they are good at.  There isn’t much point in pushing them to be good at something if it isn’t their bag and maybe you already have someone in the team who can do it better.  By all means encourage them out of their comfort zone and help them to improve but don’t set them up to fail by asking them to do something that is outside of their skillset and then criticising them when they don’t meet your high standards.

7)      Are you asking them to do something one week, then forgetting and either asking them to do it differently the next week or worse, asking someone else to do the exact same thing?  We all say something and then say something different or change our mind but if you are doing this without realising on a regular basis you might need to think about your organisational skills.  It is confusing and frustrating for people if you continually ask for something and then change your mind, not follow up or ask someone else to do it as well.  Make sure you know what each of your team is doing so you avoid duplication and keep them engaged.  If you can’t remember, they will think that they and the task are not important.

8)      Are you failing to recognise their skills or value their expertise?  The chances are you have recruited capable and talented people to your team but just take care that you are recognising their contribution and valuing them for it.  If you don’t they will be miserable and ultimately ditch you at the earliest opportunity, taking their talents somewhere they will be appreciated.
In the Guardian piece, the author concludes: ‘you taught me that life is far too short to work with people who do not value your knowledge, skills and passion.’  Managers who don’t respect the talent in their teams will lose them, either because they find something better and leave or because they switch off in their head and in their heart.  If you want to nurture a team of people that work hard, do well and stay with you, ask yourself these questions on a regular basis and make sure you are doing your job in the right way.

 

What do you think?  Have you experienced any of these things from either side?  Or do you have other questions you think we should add to this list?  Add your thoughts in the comments below and let’s continue the discussion.

 

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Giveaway: Drive – the surprising truth about what motivates us

This month, we are giving away a copy of Daniel Pink’s New York Times top 10 bestseller ‘Drive: The surprising truth about what motivate us’ and here’s the reason why…



A couple of years ago, as part of a management course, I attended a workshop that explored how we can keep people motivated.  Keen to get the best out of my teams, I was listening intently, excited at the prospect of learning new ways to engage people and enhance performance.  As the tutor explained Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, he outlined the different levels of need which need to be fulfilled for an individual to achieve the central goal of ‘self-actualisation’ or ‘full realisation of potential’.

This was great but I already knew about Maslow and was hoping to be able to build on this knowledge and take something new from the session.  Having an awareness of modern theories in this area, I was puzzled to hear the tutor say that there haven’t been any motivational thinkers since Maslow in the 1960’s and 70’s.

After the tutor had finished presenting, he moved around the room to speak to the different groups.  When he reached our group, I raised my thoughts with him:

‘You mentioned that there haven’t been any motivation theories since Maslow but I actually do know of one’.

‘Ah yes’ he said ‘are you talking about Daniel Pink?’

I confirmed that I was indeed speaking of Daniel Pink and his theory set out in the book ‘Drive’.  To my surprise, the tutor responded:

‘Yes, we’re not allowed to teach that’.

Thankfully for me, I’d read Pink’s theory already and put the ideas into practice to great effect so I was dismayed to realise that others were being prevented from exploring Pink’s theory.

At a later event I went to where we were discussing well-being, the conversation turned to staff and motivation.  It was clear that there remains a view that people ‘just’ go to work for money and that’s all they are looking for.  I don’t believe this is the case and whilst money is important – of course, we all want to have nice things and a comfortable lifestyle where we can spend our days experiencing joy and not worry – money alone does not provide job satisfaction and fulfilment.  Drive explores this idea in more detail, considering why people go to work and how Managers can capitalise on that to encourage optimum performance.

It wouldn’t be fair for me to spoil the book for you so if you, like me, did not cover Daniel Pink in your management course but want to know how to help people in your team to reach their potential, I suggest you retweet or share on social media and subscribe to this blog before 27th October to be in with a chance to win your own copy and see what difference it could make.

 

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Why mistakes and failure are critical for success

This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we learn and what we need to have in place to support this process.  Something that has become obvious to me in exploring this idea is that a critical part of learning is allowing space for error. 

It’s something that troubles us all too often.  When we get that major project, we might feel excitement and elation to start off with but that can quickly turn to anxiety and stress as we worry that we might fail or make mistakes.

It can be crippling sometimes and really hold people back if they do not feel comfortable or supported to take a chance on something that at best could bring huge dividends but at worst, we might feel it could affect our credibility or damage our reputation.  The thing is though, mistakes and failure are critical for success.  Sometimes, we need to get it wrong so that we can know how to get it right.

If we consider learning and how this takes place, we can see it takes a number of forms.  Firstly, we are all used to learning by being taught.  Most of us have grown up in a classroom being told by a teacher how things are and what we should do.  Secondly, we can go and find information previously through reading books and mostly now by accessing the internet – Google knows everything, right?!!

And Google has often provided me with the answers and ideas I need to make things happen and keep on track.  In today’s world, people love to share and so we can find out the major pitfalls in advance and try to make sure these don’t happen within our project.

Looking in the dictionary for a clear definition of learning it does indeed include these two things but it also includes another major vehicle for learning and that is experience.  The first learning we do as a baby or a toddler is through trial and error.  For example, how do we learn to walk?  By trying it and falling down A LOT of times!!  Eventually, most babies manage to find balance and walk for themselves without falling over although this can take some time and we can still forget sometimes or get it wrong and lose our step.

In terms of the workplace, one of the key things that stuck with me from my study of political philosophy back in the day is taken from John Stuart Mill’s arguments around free speech.  He says that everyone needs to be able to have their say because if they are allowed to express their opinion, then it can be discussed alongside any counter arguments and ultimately, if they are then persuaded they are wrong then the learning is greater.

 “If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”  (On Liberty, John Stuart Mill)

It’s the same for making mistakes.  As children, how many of us were confronted with a naked flame and told not to touch it because it’s hot?  And how many of us touched it anyway because we needed to learn for ourselves?  The learning is greater from touching the flame than being told not to.

There’s a reason we have sayings like ‘we learn from our mistakes’ or ‘you live and learn’.  It’s because we are programmed to learn by doing and we need to do so to fully experience the world and all it has to offer.  Learning in this way means it won’t all go smoothly and we may fall down from time to time but getting comfortable with getting it wrong is absolutely key to success.

 

Do you have an example of learning through mistakes at work? Are you a Manager or CEO in an organisation that encourages people to try new things even if it might go wrong? Tell us your tory in the comments below.

 

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What ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ teaches us about power and engagement

“Now I’m awake to the world.  I was asleep before.  That’s how we let it happen.  When they slaughtered congress, we didn’t wake up.  Then they blamed terrorists and suspended the constitution.  We didn’t wake up then either.  They said it would be temporary.  Nothing changes instantaneously.  In a gradually heating bathtub you’d be boiled to death before you even knew it.”

This monologue sets the scene for an episode of the recent television drama ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, attempting to explain how the leaders of the Republic of Gilead came to be in power.  It suggests that they gained control by making small changes, bit by bit, until nothing was the same and they had so much hold over everything, there was no choice but to do what they said.

In the story, a religious dictatorship has taken control and its leaders introduce a strict regime within which, women’s rights are removed and a caste system introduced.  One morning, the main character ‘Offred’ has her debit card declined when attempting to buy a coffee.  She later discovers that this is because ‘they changed the law’ and women are no longer allowed to have assets.  Instead, they find that their money and any estate must be handed over to their male next of kin.

We are told that there is a serious problem with infertility in the Republic of Gilead and so fertile women are sent to families with standing in the regime where they find themselves forced to bear children for the family.  When the women are taken by the regime, they lose their identity.  Offred is literally ‘of Fred’ and we see in the programme that when a handmaid is reassigned, their name changes according to the man they belong to.

Children are taken away and second marriages are dissolved.

The dramatization brings to life the famous book by Margaret Atwood which was published in 1985.  Since its release, the book has won a number of awards and is a standard course text for English Literature students across Britain and maybe even further.  What makes the tale so chilling is the knowledge that when Atwood wrote the novel, she committed to only writing things that have actually happened in the world.  It’s quite scary to think that what we see in this show is or has been a reality for some.

The novel tells a cautionary tale of totalitarianism and setting it in Trump’s America makes it scary to watch as it feels conceivable that civilisation could crumble, allowing power to settle in the wrong hands.  As we watch the President’s first year, we see many rising up against a perceived threat to civil liberties and growing unrest makes many fearful for the future.

So how on earth can anyone gain so much power that they can make people live as we see in Gilead?

It begins with the construction of ‘them and us’ using negative for ‘them’ and positive for ‘us’, creating an enemy which people can easily be turned against.  The President’s travel ban is a good example of this as he sought to ‘protect the nation from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals’.  It created unrest across America and uneasiness amongst those ‘foreign nationals’ who live in the US and those who value diversity.  He has also been criticised for comments about other groups such as women (see Trump sexism tracker) and those with disabilities.

Those who agree with these views take strength from such comments and show how easy it is to ‘us’ against ‘them’ as we saw during the election campaign and more recently in Charlottesville.   Of course what these perpetrators don’t realise is in a culture where this kind of power has taken hold, no one is safe.

One of the key techniques in a totalitarian regime is encouraging people to turn each other in when they are not respecting the regime or its leader.  We only have to look to Nazi Germany, communist China and North Korea to see that a central part of retaining power is encouraging people to report those who have done something wrong.  Even a small misdemeanour can lead to death.  Punishing those who have done wrong and rewarding those who turned them over is the perfect way to reinforce the status quo.  An example of this is the so called ‘slut-shaming’ which encourages women to rat each other out and expose others who are then subject to further abuse.

I’m sure it isn’t just me that wants to hold on to my freedom and so the most important thing is to pay attention to what’s going on in the world and not be asleep while things are changing beyond your control.

Have you been watching The Handmaid’s Tale?  Let us know what you think it teaches us about leadership in the comments below.

 

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Help people find their ‘flow’ and make every day feel like Friday

Have you seen the new Lucozade ad?  The energy drink brand has decided to shake its image as a hangover cure and look for a new audience amongst busy professionals.  The campaign, titled ‘find your flow’, features normal people in everyday situations performing beyond their best thanks to Lucozade.

“Flow. The unmistakeable feeling of unstoppable. Of no problem that can’t be solved. Of no-one else can do it better. That whatever the day throws at you, you simply take it in your stride because you’ve found your rhythm. You’re on top form.” (Lucozade 2015, Find your flow)

The ad company responsible, Grey London, have taken inspiration from psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who created the concept of ‘flow’ after extensive research on the topic.  It’s the feeling of being completely ‘into’ what you are doing.  Of being wholly absorbed in a task or activity and of losing yourself in a moment.

Csikszentmihalyi describes ‘flow’ asbeing completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.” 

That’s what I want to feel when I’m at work and what I want my team to feel also.  I’d like them to love what they do so much that they can immerse themselves in their tasks and spend most of their time ‘in the zone’.

Why should we aim to help individuals find their ‘flow’ in the workplace?

I’m really conscious that people spend a lot of time at work.  Over a lifetime, it’s around 90,000 hours if we work full-time from leaving school to retirement.  This is time that many people would rather spend doing something else such as sitting in the garden, playing with the children or walking the dog.

It’s an ambitious aim but I want the people in my teams to enjoy what they do almost as much so they are focused on delivering great things for the organisation rather than wishing they were somewhere else.  My view is that if I can help them find their ‘flow’ at work, I can help them to maximise their contribution to the organisation and enhance their overall life satisfaction.

How do we create an environment that supports individuals to find their flow’?

Based on 10 factors which are known to accompany the feeling of ‘flow’ here are 8 things that leaders should seek to provide in the workplace to allow employees to immerse themselves in their activities:

1)      Set clear goals that are challenging but achievable

2)      Allow people to concentrate on their goals and focus their attention

3)      Ensure their work is rewarding and ensure recognition of their efforts

4)      Create an environment where they feel secure and not self-conscious

5)      Give feedback

6)      Ensure tasks are achievable and suitable for the individual’s level of skill whilst providing a healthy challenge

7)      Allow ownership of a task or responsibility

8)      Minimise any distractions that will prevent the individual from focusing on the activity

 

Do you agree that helping people to find their ‘flow’ is an important goal?  Have you tried to create this kind of environment in your workplace?  Let us know your experiences by posting in the comments below.

 

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Photo credit: Pixabay

 

How Managers can use positive psychology to help individuals smash their goals and reach their potential

Positive psychology is an area of behavioural science which focuses on individual strengths and explores how these can be used to help people build fulfilling lives. For a long time, the study of psychology has examined techniques for fixing what’s wrong with people in an attempt to make it better. Positive psychology concentrates on what’s right and seeks to build on that in a way that enhances life satisfaction and fulfilment. 

How can we use positive psychology to ensure wellbeing and satisfaction in the workplace?

How often do Managers give feedback on people’s work by focusing on what’s wrong and needs to be improved or what they think could be better? The problem with this approach is that it’s very subjective for a start – what one Manager thinks is amazing, another could see as not good enough – and it also zooms in on failure & shortcomings.  Individuals easily become unmotivated and disengaged if all they ever hear is what they are not doing right.

Positive psychology requires that we turn this on its head to focus on the good things and how they can be improved even further. For me, it requires that we identify what that individual does really well and what skills or expertise they bring to the team and how that can be maximised to enhance organisational performance.

A popular formula within this school of thought is know as ‘the golden ratio’, developed by Barbara Fredrickson who believed that in order to thrive, we must have three positive emotions for every negative. That means the balance of feedback when speaking to staff should be three positives for every negative. When energy is concentrated on the good, the not so good is less noticeable and easier to handle with out impacting levels of satisfaction and motivation.

Managing people in this way makes them feel great. When they feel this way, they will work harder, be more loyal, have greater respect for Management and perform at their best for the benefit of the organisation. Doesn’t this sound worthwhile?

So why do so many Managers still insist on highlighting weakness and telling people what they should do better?

Personally, I think there is a link here with hierarchy and the inherent need to reinforce power. To hold power in a hierarchical system, you need to create a dynamic where you know more than others and the way to achieve this is to tell them how they should be better. 

As a Manager, I see my role as one of supporting others in the team. My aim is to help those individuals to be the best they can be and make sure they can use their strengths to contribute to the organisation’s overall objectives. That for me is the starting point; I am equal to the others and my role is to support, facilitate and coordinate so that the team as a whole delivers for the business.

Imagine this conversation in your monthly 1-1’s: ‘Wow Sam! You have done fantastic work this month, you must be really proud of your achievements! What are you goals for the coming period and how can I support you to smash them?’.
Do you have conversations like that with your team? If not, could you try and see what difference it makes? Let us know your thoughts and findings by posting in the comments below.


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Why it matters that we finally have a woman playing The Doctor

It’s been a long time coming but many women across Britain have finally realised a dream which I wasn’t sure would ever come true a female lead in the British cult series – Dr Who.

A few years ago, I remember talking to a producer of Dr Who and asked the question ‘when is the Doctor going to be a woman?’. She advised me that it would never happen because the fans didn’t want it and the ratings would fall if that decision was made.

We now get to find out if that is a valid concern or indeed if the change means the series can inspire a whole new audience.

Why does it matter whether we have a female Doctor?

It isn’t just a nice thing to do for women, it really matters that we have female role models who are visible and leading the way. Being able to see women in prominent roles and breaking new ground is an inspiration for girls everywhere. It tells our daughters that anything is possible and they can actually be whatever they want to be.

Role models help to raise aspirations and show girls they can succeed. Whether it’s leadership, media, engineering or something else, we need to see that women can achieve in whatever they choose and this character provides someone for our girls to look up to.

For those girls watching Jodie Whittaker taking on the Daleks, it tells them they can have leading roles, become action heroes and achieve what seems impossible if they want to. We see far too little of girls having adventures so many of us are cheering this turn of events and hope that it marks the beginning of an era where girls can get right in the thick of it too.

Typically, women are seen as not having power so hopefully having a woman play an extraterrestrial Time Lord who zips through time and space to solve problems and battle injustice across the universe will help to change this.

Do women have equal opportunities in the media?

It’s been a big week for women with names and salaries of the BBCs highest paid stars being published in a bid to improve transparency of the public service. Reading the news articles ahead of the release, I was disappointed to see this quote: ‘It’s good to see some women on the list too’. This is the type of attitude that creates inequality in the first place and allows it to continue. It’s shocking to discover that women account for just 1/3 of the list and men exclusively hold the top 12 highest paid roles.

What impact does a lack of female role models have on wider society?

An article published by Forbes explains the need for role models perfectly:

“Seeing few people who look and act like them in industries like science and politics discourages girls from pursuing their interests if those interests are not popular. This robs the world of future talent that has massive potential to feed innovation, create change, and boost the economy”

When young women and girls see Jodie Whittaker or other leading lights taking on new challenges and succeeding in the chosen field, they think ‘if they can do it, so can I’. So thank you to the BBC for taking diversity seriously and finally appointing a female Doctor to show our girls they have options.

What can you do to help ensure we have good role models for girls to look up to?

You can be visible – if you have any kind of role that challenges gender stereotypes, do what you can to make it known to others so you can inspire girls coming though.

You can be the change – when you secure a role in an area where women are under-represented, you can help to create a space where women are welcome and judged on their own merits.

You can help others – if you make it to a position of authority or even achieve something that others admire, you can share your story and experiences to help others do the same.

If you have any thoughts about what more needs to happen to promote female role models or have an experience to share with us, please post in the comments below.


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Photo credit: Pixabay

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