This month, we were lucky to have Andrew Marshall, a Senior Account Manager for major international human resources firm, SHL, speak at the HR Breakfast Club on the topic of ‘Identifying Leadership in your Organisation.’

The changing nature of today’s work environment requires organisations to adapt their approaches to leadership identification and succession. Andrew’s presentation focused on myth-busting and exposing the realities that employers need to be mindful of when identifying future leaders.

Andrew emphasized the strategies that might help employers adapt to these changing realities when identifying the right leaders for their organisation. One of Andrew’s main recommendations was to shift from traditional succession planning methods to approaches that take into account a leader’s fit with the context of specific roles and business challenges, as opposed to a leader’s fit with generic frameworks around behaviour, values and culture.

Andrew also offered a refreshing perspective on the future of women in leadership, and provided the HR Breakfast Club with an alternative view of the ‘glass ceiling.’ The research SHL has conducted suggests one of the main barriers to getting more women within leadership roles could be explained by an unconscious bias that (erroneously) associates “masculine” leadership qualities that are more often displayed by men more than with women. Andrew suggested that by removing the subjective elements from leadership identification processes (for example, through the adoption of a data driven approach), it could be possible to remove, or at least reduce, this unconscious bias when selecting new leaders. Ultimately, based on the research, we should see a more equitable distribution of gender in leadership roles.

Overall it was a fantastic presentation and a great way to celebrate the HR Breakfast Club’s third birthday!