Fixing the “Broken Rung”.

Encouraging women to take their next step on the leadership ladder.

Emma Hinton Kellogg report

Executive summary

In today’s modern world the pressure to have a workforce that can evolve to meet the changing needs of its environment is increasing. The drive to have a more diverse workforce is paramount to achieving this, yet we still see a gender gap in all levels of leadership.

Understanding how to bridge this gap is a challenge for leaders. This report explores the connection between confidence and career progression for our future female leaders. It aims to understand how we can instil confidence in our future female leaders to encourage them into their next role.

This report reviews literature on the subject and then compares it to key themes that arose from interviews with present and emerging female leaders.

Key Findings

  • Developing a safe work environment, where people can question, challenge and attempt tasks without fear of repercussions is key to building confidence.

  • Resilience within leaders is a key skill. Having the ability to take risks, fail safely and learn from these mistakes, aids tremendously in building confidence.

  • Our emerging leaders need to be able to relate to our current leaders. Creating an environment where open and honest discussion can occur, particularly around challenges is important.

  • Relatability is important to reassure future leaders that they are not the only ones who have dealt with a particular issue.

  • Embrace the different leadership styles, unique to each leader. This increases confidence through being able to bring their authentic self to work.


  • Complete an honest audit of the team and environment in which leaders are operating. Identify and rectify issues that may be impacting the development of confidence.

  • Assess your own leadership style and biases. Are any of your behaviours impacting your team?

  • Encourage your emerging leaders to understand themselves and what this may
    mean for their leadership style.

  • If we do this well, will we see the “broken rung” repaired? I hope so.

Grow. Advance. Lead.

Do the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme.