The discourse on developing next generation leadership yielded insightful opinions at SBI’s recent Women’s Growth Forum, which took place in August. The invite-only discussion, comprised of a group of accomplished female leaders and professionals, shared what "NextGen Leadership Development" meant to them. Answering the question of whether it is the skills needed or the environment, the group agreed that it is a combination of both.
The leaders of today need creativity, empathy, adaptability, and a commitment to continuous learning in order to navigate the complexities of diverse experiences and aspirations. Understanding individual motivations, crafting purposeful opportunities, and fostering a supportive network is necessary to raising the leaders of tomorrow.
Developing leadership skills that harmonize with personal lives and individual paths is a delicate art that requires shedding outdated expectations, tapping into motivations, and nurturing well-being. Redefining what success looks like for future leaders helps individuals see their unique journey ahead and provides them with a more personal motivator.
The professionals attending the forum also discussed their approach to mentoring, coaching, and sponsoring. They felt that it was crucial to foster soft skills that drive innovation, such as engagement, connectivity, and personal growth. Mentors need curiosity when coaching others; even those who seem less coachable could display surprising hidden talent when given the right opportunity. A theme emerged around the idea of having plenty of mentors, but few sponsors in their career development.
While the attendees agreed that much progress has been made overall, leadership development can continue to evolve by having transparency, vulnerability, and measurable goals.
An interesting perspective surfaced during the discussion around what "NextGen" means. The entered the conversation thinking about paving the path for those behind them, but it quickly shifted to the idea that "NextGen" isn't age restrictive and that they all require leadership development regardless of career stage. Many expressed that the next step in their careers would be board positions, but were unsure what that looks like or steps needed to get there. SBI has taken the action to host a few sessions on this topic.
Discussing the Potential and Challenges of AI in Driving Inclusivity
The second topic discussed during the forum was about generative AI, highlighting its inherent bias due to the fact that more articles available today have been written by men. As a use case of professional or business development, the group agreed on a cautious stance—that generative AI content should not be used blindly because the human element is still vital in professional development and go-to-market (GTM) success.
This discussion highlighted both the potential and challenges of leveraging AI in leadership and beyond, which brings with it many ethical and data-driven considerations. But by using AI responsibly to support human interactions, leaders could enhance the productivity of GTM teams by enabling streamlined team communications, improving and speeding up processes, as well as helping people to be more effective and efficient in their roles.
The group also discussed ways to assess inclusivity and bias in books, articles, meeting transcripts, policies, and general written communication using ChatGPT. As an exercise, the attendees thought of prompt examples that could be used to achieve this:
- “Does this document reply on stereotypes or generalizations about certain groups of people?”
- “Are there any biases or prejudiced terms used that could be offensive or marginalizing?”
- “Are there alternative terms or pronouns that could be used to make the document more inclusive?”
SBI’s Women’s Growth Forum is an invite-only event for female executives and women in leadership to participate with their peers in a small group roundtable discussion. The next Women’s Growth Forum is set for November 14, 2023. If you'd like to be invited or know someone who would, complete the form on our Growth Forum page.