Centre for Continuing Education

Women in Leadership Course: Foundation Skills

Leadership. Inspiring and enabling organisations to create and realise optimal value.

COVID-19 update: arrangement of our courses

We are now delivering courses online and in-person. Please check the delivery format of each class before enrolling.

Please note that course materials (excluding prescribed texts) are shared electronically within 48 hours of course commencement. Printing is not available.

This women in leadership course will give you the tools to improve your leadership skills, addressing challenges unique to women in leadership and leveraging your unique attributes.

Great leaders motivate, inspire and empower their teams. Women in leadership positions may face a number of challenges unique to female leaders. Learn how to identify and deal with these challenges as you aim to perform at your peak. You will also learn how to boost your credibility, influence as you step into a new leadership role, and discover how to build engagement and motivation in a team. Finally, you will learn how to master the tactics for creating positive team dynamics and culture.

This course is for anyone looking to enhance their leadership capabilities. This course is followed by our Women in Leadership Course: Advanced Skills.


This course aims to equip newly appointed female leaders to make the most of their roles. It focuses on practical techniques women can use to build their credibility, presence and influence when entering the leadership arena.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • discuss common challenges that may impact your effectiveness as a woman in a leadership position
  • design strategies for dealing with those challenges
  • build a vision which will inspire your team to commit to their roles
  • use motivation models to improve your own leadership performance
  • track and shift group dynamics, so you can build a healthy team or business culture
  • complete a gender and leadership assessment, so you can pinpoint your strengths and development goals as female leader.


Topic 1: Introduction to women in leadership

What does it take for women to experience success in leadership roles? Women in leadership roles face a range of challenges. In many organisations, the first challenge is simply gaining visibility and credibility. The next is addressing systemic or cultural factors which block success. Assess which factors are impacting your leadership role and then design strategies for addressing them.

Topic 2: Establishing your credibility as a leader

Many new female leaders struggle with ‘the credibility issue’. In this section of the course, you’ll learn how to use four communication tactics to boost your credibility. These strategies include framing and boundary-setting, showcasing your expertise, redirecting conversational dynamics and actively managing your responses to others' mindsets or stereotypes.

Topic 3: Creating a compelling vision

Research has shown that female leaders are frequently perceived to lack visioning skills. Find out what might be creating this perception and then learn how to shift this perception. In this session you will:

  • get hands-on experience running a vision interview
  • design your own leadership vision
  • learn how to ‘push back’ when your vision meets with resistance.

Topic 4: Communicating and influencing

Conversational norms can be used to establish dominance, power and status within groups. As a female leader, you need to understand this. Hear what sociologists and gender studies experts have discovered about gender, authority and communication. We will consider examples of behavioural dynamics that may impact on female leaders' credibility and authority. We will also discuss how to actively shape perceptions of your leadership ‘brand’ by using effective communication patterns.

Topic 5: Motivating and engaging your people

Great female leaders shape workplace culture in ways that promote engagement and motivation. They tap into employee strengths and hold people accountable for their behaviours. You will learn how to use strengths interviews to bring out the best in your people. We will then discuss ways to build a strengths focus into your employee review and development systems.

Topic 6: Creating positive team dynamics

Establishing positive team dynamics is critical to your success as a woman in a leadership role. Yet, many new female leaders hesitate to address negative team dynamics. Learn how to shift team communication and behaviour patterns, using techniques from positive leadership theory. This session will include a case study on transforming toxic team dynamics, using the psychological capital model.

Intended audience

Suitable for all managers, team leaders, supervisors and individuals wishing to enhance and develop their leadership skills.

Delivery style

Delivered as an interactive workshop covering the why, what and how of leadership. You’ll learn through a variety of methods including:

  • small group discussions
  • role plays or simulations
  • written exercises where you will apply key concepts
  • question and answer sessions with the facilitator.

Delivery options:

  • presenter-taught workshop on University premises
  • online workshop via the platform Zoom.

You will get the most from this course if you are:

  • willing to contribute to group discussions
  • confident communicating verbally
  • willing to participate in role play style activities.

Recommended reading

Appelbaum, SH, Audet, L & Miller, JC 2003, ‘Gender and leadership? Leadership and gender? A journey through the landscape of theories’, Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol 24, no. 1, pp. 43-51, DOI 10.1108/01437730310457320.

Babcock, L & Laschever, S 2009, Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.

Being a Two-Career Couple Requires a Long-Term Plan, 2018, February 26, retrieved from hbr.org

Boyes, C 2005, Body Language, HarperCollins, London, UK.

Clarke, C & Shister, N 2010, Dare to Ask!: The Woman’s Guidebook to Successful Negotiating, LLC, Mulberry Street Press.

Coates, J 2015, Women, Men and Language: A Sociolinguistic Account of Gender Differences in Language, Routledge, London, England.

Cole, K 2002, Crystal Clear Communication: Skills for Understanding and Being Understood (2nd ed.), Pearson Education, Australia.

Condliffe, P 2012, Conflict Management: A Practical Guide, LexisNexis Butterworths.

Cornelius, H, Faire, S & Cornelius, E 2007, Everyone Can Win: Responding to Conflict Constructively Simon & Schuster; reprint, revised and updated 2nd edition.

Davidds, Y & Bidou, A 2015, Your Own Terms: A Woman’s Guide to Taking Charge of Any Negotiation, AMACOM.

Eagly, AH & Carli, LL 2003, ‘The female leadership advantage: An evaluation of the evidence’, The Leadership Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 6, pp. 807-834, DOI 10.1016/j.leaqua.2003.09.004.

Elgin, SH 2000, The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Ely, R & Padavic, I 2007, ‘A feminist analysis of organizational research on sex differences’, Academy of Management Review, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 1121-114, DOI 10.5465/amr.2007.26585842.

Frankel, L, 2004, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers, Business Plus.

Frankel, LP 2014, See Jane Lead: 99 Ways for Women to Take Charge at Work.

Friedman, C & Yorio, K 2003, The Girl’s Guide to Starting Your Own Business, Candid Advice.

Frank Talk, and True Stories for the Successful Entrepreneur, HarperCollins, NY.

Hollands, J 2002, Same Game Different Rules, McGraw-Hill Companies, NY.

Hollier, F, Cornelius, H & Murray, K 1993, Conflict Resolution Trainers' Manual: 12 Skills, Conflict Resolution Network.

Holmes, J & Meyerhoff, M 2008, The Handbook of Language and Gender, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ.

Kalev, A, Dobbin, F & Kelly, E 2006, ‘Best Practices or Best Guesses? Assessing the Efficacy of Corporate Affirmative Action and Diversity Policies’, American Sociological Review, vol. 71, no. 4, pp. 589-617, DOI 10.1177/000312240607100404.

Kalev, A, Dobbin, F & Kelly, E 2006, ‘Best Practices or Best Guesses? Assessing the Efficacy of Corporate Affirmative Action and Diversity Policies’, American Sociological Review, vol. 71, no. 4, pp. 589-617, DOI 10.1177/000312240607100404.

Kolb, DM, Williams, J & Frohlinger, C 2010, Her Place at the Table: A Woman’s Guide to Negotiating Five Key Challenges to Leadership Success, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ.

Kolb, D & Williams, J 2001, The Shadow Negotiation: How Women Can Master the Hidden Agendas That Determine Bargaining Success, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY.

Laborde, GZ 2004, Influencing with Integrity: Management Skills for Communication and Negotiation, Crown House Publishing.

Lloyd, K 2005, ‘Jerks At Work’, Revised Edition: How to Deal with People Problems and Problem People, Red Wheel/Weiser.

Magowan, KE 2015, The Busy Women’s Guide To... Salary Negotiation: How to Successfully Negotiate Your Next Salary Raise!, Magowan Nominees.

Malhotra, D 2004, ‘Risky Business: Trust in Negotiations’, Negotiation Journal, vol. 7, no. 2.

Martell, R, Parker, C, Emrich, C & Crawford, M 1998, ‘Sex stereotyping in the executive suite: "Much ado about something."’, Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 127-138.

McGinn, KL., Pradel, DW & Bowles, HR (2005 November), ‘When Does Gender Matter in Negotiation?’, Negotiation, vol. 8, no. 11.

McHugh, MC & Hambaugh, J 2009, ‘She Said, He Said: Gender, Language, and Power’, Handbook of Gender Research in Psychology, pp. 379-410, DOI 10.1007/978-1-4419-1465-1_19.

Meyerhoff, M. (n.d.) ‘Gender Differences in Language and Language Use’, Encyclopedia of the Mind, DOI 10.4135/9781452257044.n136.

Miller, LE & Miller, J 2002, A Woman’s Guide to Successful Negotiating: How to Convince, Collaborate, & Create Your Way to Agreement, McGraw Hill Professional, New York.

Patterson, K, Grenny, J, McMillan, R & Switzler, A 2004, Crucial Confrontations: Tools for talking about broken promises, violated expectations, and bad behavior, McGraw Hill Professional, New York.

Petriglieri, J 2019, Couples That Work: How Dual-Career Couples Can Thrive in Love and Work, Harvard Business Press, Brighton, MA.

Power Couples (2019, September 1), retrieved from hbr.org

Ridgeway, CL 2011, Framed by Gender: How Gender Inequality Persists in the Modern World, Oxford University Press, New York.

Roseberry, L & Roos, J 2014, Bridging the Gender Gap: Seven Principles for Achieving Gender Balance, Oxford University Press, New York.

Ryan, MK & Haslam, SA 2007, ‘The Glass Cliff: Exploring the Dynamics Surrounding the Appointment of Women to Precarious Leadership Positions’, Academy of Management Review, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 549-572, DOI 10.5465/amr.2007.24351856.

Tannen, D & Tannen, PO 2013, Talking from 9 to 5: How Women’s and Men’s Conversational Styles Affect who Gets Heard, who Gets Credit, and what Gets Done at Work, William Morrow & Company.

Tillett, G & French, B 2006, Resolving Conflict: A Practical Approach, Oxford University Press, New York.

Weatherall, A 2002, Gender, Language and Discourse, Psychology Press, London, England.

Wellington, S, Brumit Kropf, M & Gerkovich, P (2003, June), 'What’s Holding Women Back?', Harvard Business Review, pp. 18-19.

What Work Looks Like for Women in Their 50s (2016, April 22), retrieved from hbr.org

White, K 2008, Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead... But Gutsy Girls Do: Nine Secrets Every Working Woman Must Know, Grand Central Publishing, New York.

Women in leadership: Lessons from Australian companies leading the way (n.d.), retrieved from mckinsey.com

Wright, M & Gray, T 2013, ‘The hidden turmoil: Females achieving longevity in the outdoor learning profession’, Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 12-23, DOI 10.1007/bf03400942.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

What others say.

  • Tutor, content and format were excellent. I enjoyed the course and learned so much. The detailed handbook was also excellent and I look forward to reading and reviewing it soon.

  • Exceptionally well run course. Very practical and will be very useful to me. I have already recommended this course to many colleagues.

  • The presenter was a very experienced and skilled coach who helped us to understand mindsets of both females and males, and how leadership is impacted by preconceived perceptions and attitudes of gender and gender roles. I really enjoyed the interaction of the small class which allowed us to talk about personal experiences and also put theory into practice in a class setting.

  • I really liked that the presenter had first-hand industry experience and is very well qualified to go above and beyond teaching us.

  • The presenter was an amazing facilitator and the structure/content/presentation of the course was second to none. I have been on several day courses and always considered afterwards what was really learnt, and taken on board and how I can apply this in my everyday working and personal life. The Women In Leadership course has offered two very extensive lists that I will be working towards in the future.

  • A wonderful facilitator. Also great to do a course which is realistic that there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution to situations.

  • I found this course very helpful and useful, and I am looking forward to refining my skills as a woman in leadership.

  • The tutor had lots of knowledge in this area. The more actionable and practical tips, the better!

  • I really appreciated the opportunity for group discussions and considering different scenarios in the course. I also valued the last session in which we needed to identify 3-5 action items we would put into practice as it made the learning immediately applicable to my work environment. It was a fantastic day.

  • Fantastic tutor and great interactive class.

  • A fabulous presenter. I really loved the course. Very inspiring!

  • The presenter was excellent. Content great and inspiring and kept everyone involved. Day went really fast. Practical tips provided and tangible to reinforce on return to the office. Self improvement and benefit for the whole organisation with consideration and implementation of new techniques and mindset learnt.

  • I really enjoyed the presentation and the valuable interaction with other women in leadership across sectors. I learnt a lot about the challenges of leadership that are particular to women. I understand better my areas of development and am more confident in my ability to be strong leader. I had a very rewarding and enjoyable day.

  • The presenter inspired us to be better leaders, with tips and tools for us to succeed.

Women in Leadership Course: Foundation Skills

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Women in Leadership Course: Foundation Skills

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What others say.

  • The course was clear, concise and engaging. I would recommend it to anyone looking to expand their leadership/management skills, and apply practical techniques in a supportive environment.
  • The tutor's delivery of the course was outstanding - engaging and inspiring. I came away with a wealth of ideas and actions to put into place. Very worthwhile.
  • An excellent course that exceeded my expectations.
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