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BackToSchoolGlobal G.L.O.W. transforms the lives of strong girls from vulnerable communities around the world by empowering them to realize their full potential. Utilizing a dynamic mentorship model and a character strength-based focus aimed at girls on the brink of success, Global G.L.O.W.’s GLOW Programs and The HerStory Initiative program combine transformational literacy and creative expression with consistent mentor relationships to build self-esteem, capacity and resilience in each girl. The organization is recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.

Learn more about this organization by visiting the Global G.L.O.W. website!

Becoming a strong female leader in the workplace can take a great deal of time and experience. Even the most naturally inclined leaders and the most confident women can struggle to assert themselves in professional environments, where there is often a unique atmosphere to get used to. There are plenty of ways to gain the experience needed to become a strong workplace leader, and first among them is experience in that workplace. But if you want to prepare yourself to exhibit leadership skills even in your early days in a company, you may want to give some thought to an MBA education.

The MBA is considered by some to be old fashioned. Dale Stephens of The Wall Street Journal even published a piece a couple years ago in which he argued that the MBA is not worth its generally hefty price tag, and that opinion has gained some steam in the time since. There’s certainly something to this: the MBA programs at most top schools can cost well over $100,000 in tuition, leading to burdensome student loan debt that can only be paid off by those who get the very best jobs after graduate school. But this sort of analysis tends to only address the most tangible values of an MBA—as in, the degree itself and the job you get after you obtain it.

The true value of advanced business education, for many women, is more intangible. The process of earning an MBA can help you to build a network, discover your talents and shortcomings, and figure out how you’ll best be able to succeed in business before you’re actually challenged to do so. And through these and other benefits, an MBA education can also serve as an invaluable means of developing workplace leadership skills.

For starters, you’ll have a better idea of your own qualities and ambitions, and that clear-headedness is a handy foundation for leadership. Alice van Harten of Menlo Coaching teaches this concept even to new students applying to business school. Her program helps students to craft MBA application essays, and the students rave about the chance to develop their own responses and understand their own experiences and goals. This understanding can drive an MBA education and help you to emerge as a young businesswoman with purpose and direction, rather than a young employee seeking a way to fit in.

Other intangibles articulated well by Get Rich Slowly’s J.D. Roth include elements of prestige and timing. While it sounds almost silly to say so, an MBA does still carry a certain level of prestige that can lend you credibility in your company and ultimately as a leader. Somewhat similarly, there is a point-of-entry factor to consider when you start work after an MBA. Because many switch careers after business school, you’re likelier to be viewed as a capable young worker with the tools to succeed, as opposed to an employee who’s merely been looking to climb the ladder. All of this can help to position you for leadership.

These benefits, in addition to the actual skills you learn in business school, can make for a very genuine preparation for leadership in a work environment. It’s perfectly true that MBA education now involves tricky decisions regarding return on investment, but there may still not be a better way to enter a workplace ready to excel, rather than simply succeed.

Shannon Leonard is a freelance writer based out of Los Angeles, Calif. She typically covers anything in the realm of business, finance, careers, and similar topics. You can follow her on Twitter at @STLeonard28.

teamsWe use the word team so often that it has almost become a garbage can word. Everything is a team. We have our department team, our sales team, our whole company is called a team, and we have even called the guys who meet every Friday night a team. Because we use the word so frequently, we think we know how to work effectively with teams. Unfortunately we do not.

Teams are complex dynamic systems that face many challenges. In fact 60% fail to reach their potential. Listed below are 8 of the most common reasons teams fail based on our experience and research.

  1. Lack of clear purpose and goals

Without clear purpose and goals, the team will falter. Not knowing what to accomplish and why it is important is a major reason for lack of performance

  1. Unsure of what requires a team effort

Not every decision or action requires a team; some are best accomplished by individuals. Team action is required when the result calls for multiple skills and perspectives and for a common goal.

  1. Lack of accountability

The very definition of a team is one where mutual accountability for outcomes is a given. Effective teams hold themselves and each other accountable for commitments made and results.

  1. Lack of effective or shared Leadership

Applying leader behaviors that do not meet the developmental level of the team impacts both productivity and morale. Every team needs a leader, but as the team develops leadership needs to be shared. You will never have a high performing team if the leader does not give up control.

  1. Lack of trust among team members

Teams are trust- based systems. The lack of trust leads to poor communication and withholding of information, which is a barrier to relationships and innovation.

  1. Inability to deal with conflict.

Not dealing with conflict will cause productivity and morale to come to a standstill or worse. Rather than being seen as differences, it can become a struggle for control. If dealt with correctly can be the source of innovation and deepened relationships.

  1. Ineffective problem-solving skills

The strength of the team lies in its ability to creatively and effectively deal with challenges. Without this skill set (which thrives on different perspectives), it will not reach high performance.

  1. Lack of focus on creativity and excellence.

Creativity and excellence cannot be taken for granted but ideally written right into the values and norms of the team. Continual improvement is applauded and honored. Team members should be allowed to take calculated risks. If mistakes occur, they are treated as learning opportunities

Overcoming these challenges is not easy but doable. Teams are a powerful vehicle to produce results and build morale. When managed effectively, they can outperform any group of individuals and do more to unleash creativity and build skills than individuals working alone.

Lisa Miller has a fantastic essay on the New York Post titled “Why We Need Older Women in the Workplace”.  We love what Lisa has to say but even more important is the comments on the article.  Read them and you’ll see that the issue may not be about women after all but people of both genders over 50.  You can read the article and comments here.

The people from the SPARK movement have come up with a genius idea to teach more people about the achievements of women.  We knew that there were no holidays named after women and until recently there was no woman on currency in the United States.  But who knew that only a quarter of postage stamps feature women and only nine of the 100 statues in the US National Statuary Hall are of women.

There is plenty of history with female involvement but it isn’t widely known or celebrated.  The SPARK movement created a project called “Women on the Map” that is hosted on the Field Trip app by Google.  Download the map and turn on SPARK’s Women on the Map, your phone will buzz when you approach a place where a woman made history.