Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times quotes Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg on women and leadership: “We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in.”

To a point, that’s true. From what I’ve seen, women are more likely than men to hold back from taking credit for their success. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sent a gifted senior executive on a job interview only to discover that she neglected even to mention her most impressive achievements.

It’s also true that employers need to do more to recruit, retain and develop female talent. Time and again, employers point to a potential internal candidate and tell me, “she’s not ready.” Well,why isn’t she ready?

With the demographic changes in the years ahead, employers of all sizes will need to rethink the way they manage talent, and the ones that succeed will do what it takes to have the best talent. Whether you’re an employer looking to strengthen your bench or a woman looking to move up, here’s what I say: get ready!

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