Challenge the status quo: Female leadership at FS
Executive Education / 6 June 2019
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Programme Manager at Sustainable World Academy
Nilly Chingaté Castaño is Program Manager at Sustainable World Academy. She has been working at Frankfurt School for 6 years and is currently working as program manager for Women’s Leadership Academy.

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Leadership is leadership! True but….In 2018, when we decided to launch the “Women’s Leadership Academy”, we were aware that women in leadership positions face two well-studied and specific challenges: the glass ceiling, and the glass cliff.

On the one hand, despite their outstanding educational background and successful career, some female leaders do not arrive at top management positions due to invisible, but nevertheless prevalent, barriers. On the other hand, when they are named to management positions, female leaders are appointed to manage complicated or suicidal missions, the idea being that if a project fails, we won’t have sacrificed a man in the endeavour of a hopeless cause and if a woman is leading a mission impossible the public opinion would be more indulgent with her.

Leadership at Frankfurt School

At Frankfurt School, we believe in transformational leadership, a conceptual framework developed by Bass and Riggio, to explain why some leaders have a stronger and more successful impact on their followers than others. Transformational leadership is rooted in constructivist thought and includes four behaviour clusters: idealised influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualised consideration. These four behaviour patterns provide a very “hands-on” compass for increasing participants’ leadership skills and competences.

After many years of teaching leadership to leaders from around the world, we decided to focus on women, without creating a programme that segregates women or that offers, content wise, a lighter version of the general leadership programme.

Women Leadership at Frankfurt School

The Women’s Leadership Academy is our 5-day open enrolment on campus programme. It targets women with at least seven years of work experience in team lead positions from diverse industry backgrounds and nationalities. In 2018, we welcomed female leaders from Germany, Ghana, Montenegro, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. The purpose of the programme is to maximise the participant’s leadership effectiveness, through a unique combination of analytical reflection, exposure to management research, peer-coaching, networking, creative leadership and tailor-made personal development. The programme has a strong focus on communication skills in negotiation and public speaking, with an afternoon on the stage at the English Theatre of Frankfurt.

With peers from all over the world, senior female managers are equipped with the necessary intellectual tools to break through that infamous glass ceiling, avoid the glass cliff, and create sustainable value for their respective organisations.

Challenge the status quo

The results of our first experience, with its testimonials and careers evolutions, proved to us that we were right: female leaders need a suitable programme that balances analytical reflection, good knowledge about their own leadership style, public speaking, negotiation, coaching and networking, in order to improve and master their leadership skills. Thus, we will continue offering this programme to all the female leaders!

We hope to bring a change in leadership based on merit! Come join us and let’s challenge the status quo!



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