Helping Female Leaders in Your Church Find Their Leadership Voice with Kadi Cole
Welcome back to the unSeminary podcast. We’re talking with Kadi Cole, the founder of Kadi Cole & Company, an organization created to help leaders of all organizations. Kadi is with us today to talk about encouraging female leaders at your church while removing barriers from leadership opportunities.
- Find the drop off. // Many men in church leadership are trying to help the women on their teams develop their potential, but they find that opportunities aren’t being taken advantage of by women, or enjoyed by women who are there. We may unknowingly put up barriers to women thriving in leadership and do a disservice to what we’re trying to accomplish in creating opportunities for them. If you find this is the case, look at where women are entering the pipeline in your church’s staff and volunteers, and where they’re dropping off. In most churches there is a big drop-off in women moving from the lower level leadership roles to manager roles. If you see that drop-off then you know there is something in your culture preventing women from finding their place and feeling confident.
- Ask about experiences in those roles. // If you have women with great potential stepping down or stepping back from leadership, ask them what their experience was in the organization. We may hear a variety of answers from the work not being worth their time, to lack of feedback to help with growth. But sometimes we simply have things in our culture that make meeting easier for men and not women based on needs for their daily family and home lives.
- Acknowledge the awkwardness. // When you’re thinking about how to talk to women about their roles and what is holding them back, it will be an awkward conversation on both sides. Just acknowledge that it might be weird and uncomfortable to talk about these topics. Let her know that you care deeply about her and her being everything she can be in the kingdom. Communicate that you want to talk about what needs fixing in your leadership that will help open doors for her to lead successfully. Make space for that confidential, honest and authentic conversation to happen.
- Ask open-ended questions about life. // It’s easy to make assumptions about women or their life stage, so be individually focused by asking them open-ended questions about their actual lives. Communicating assumptions without knowing the truth sends mixed messages about a female leader’s value and importance as a leader. Valuing a female leader and her contribution means making space for her voice.
- Give advice, not just compliments. // Giving vague compliments on a job well done isn’t constructive. Women rely more on constructive feedback. Offer specific compliments, but also add in suggestions on what to do next time. This affirms and develops her leadership while also encouraging her that she’s still wanted on the team.
- Help clean the sticky floor. // When a woman comes into a male-dominated organization, it’s not easy to navigate and can bring out insecurity. Each woman has a “sticky floor” that is made of doubts and conversations women have in their own minds that keep them stuck. It causes them to hold themselves back from moving forward and going for leadership opportunities. You can help them fight the sticky floor by letting them know how they are demonstrating leadership. In addition to their confidence, also help them increase their competence by developing specific leadership skills that prepare them for higher levels of management.
- Increase leadership confidence. // Women often tend to hold themselves to higher standards in their work and compare themselves to others. In Kadi’s latest book, Find Your Leadership Voice in 90 Days, she hopes to give women step-by-step guidance on how to step into leadership roles with confidence without compromising who they are.
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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Red Letter Challenge
One of the best times of the year to start an all-in church series is the time after Easter. The team at Red Letter Challenge have become the 40-day church series experts…they created not only a 40-day church series, but offer unique daily challenges as well for everyone in your church to complete. It’s a fun, amazing time and many people take steps towards Jesus! Pastors, grab your free 40-day challenge book here and see what your church can do!