If we want our leadership to make a difference, we must understand our own impact—the shadow we cast. The challenge is that it is hard to see our own shadow—its shape, clarity and reach.
The path to lasting performance improvement on any priority—like gender balance—starts at the top. What we say; how we act; what we prioritise; and how we measure together determine what gets done (and what doesn’t). These four elements make up the Leadership Shadow model, which allows you as a leader to consider whether the imprint of your words and actions is as clear and powerful as you want it to be.
In the following pages, we describe the model and how it might help achieve greater gender balance within organisations. For a number of us, the model has helped to identify blind spots and to prioritise action.
The model is flexible. Its core logic is universal—so that you can use it wherever you exercise leadership and in whatever line of work. Naturally, the solutions and strategies that the model will prompt you to apply to your specific purposes will differ from one leader and organisation to another.
We present the Leadership Shadow pictorially and describe it simply. We recommend that you and your fellow leaders:
- Read and reflect on The Leadership Shadow, using the provided questions
- Ask for feedback (from peers, employees and other leaders)
- Understand and prioritise opportunities for improvement
- Set goals and take action
- Restart the process
Throughout this document, we share experiences of Chief Executive Women and Male Champions of Change leaders who have reviewed and trialled The Leadership Shadow.