Here’s an interesting riddle I came across today. A father and son are waiting at the reception of a reputed firm. The son gets a call from the CEO of the company who says, “Congrats son! You got the job.” How is this possible? How could the son have received such a message when his father was right beside him? Well, because the CEO of the company is his mother! Wasn’t that simple yet surprising?
I was surprised to note that just like me, there were many who did not get the right answer. And the reason you didn’t guess the right answer, although it’s obvious, is exactly the reason we need more women leaders.
Women have often had it harder than men in the workspace for generations – be it work timings, promotions, pay scale, returning to work, or more. Between balancing their families, housework, health and attending meetings, you can be sure that women have not had it easy. Despite this, women make some of the most powerful leaders in the workplace. With a woman on your team, you will notice more coordination, better communication, and exponential growth for your team.
There are numerous studies from McKinsey, S&P Global and Forrester which confirm and reiterate that companies that have more women executives, especially in leadership roles, outperform other organisations by a large margin. Global Coaching Lab’s own research study on Women Of The World In Leadership (WOW Factors Research Report) corroborate many of these points along with identifying a few new ones.
Read on to break down the different reasons why we need more women in leadership roles and what our study revealed.
Women bring new perspectives to the table
Women can bring new perspectives to the table as their power of observation is strong, and they embed themselves in their surroundings. This also helps foster innovation. Varied and fresh perspectives help with better decision-making – which women excel at. They can analyse situations and body language better than men, which helps with understanding and convincing clients as well.
According to our study, women have deep domain expertise and functional proficiency, and they are not hesitant to take on cross domain roles and projects. The depth of their functional expertise in combination with the breadth of their experience allows them to bring fresh perspectives to the table.
From bringing in new views and talents to giving a modern twist to structural and cultural diversity, women can use their eye for detail to go beyond the surface. Women have this keen sense of awareness which helps them understand situations and identify the best solutions.
“If the woman on your team attends a sales meeting and notices the client’s body language, she will know what to do to bring him to your side. She can empathise and target the exact pain points of the client to persuade him to make a deal,” says the sales team lead of a popular IT company.
Women are more empathetic
Empathy is often the greatest power women possess and this gives them an edge over men. Our study revealed that although problem-solving is gender agnostic, women tend to be better at it because they approach problems with an empathetic lens. This helps them comprehend the difficulties others are facing. They understand diverse points of view and take their time to find a solution that is in the best interest of all stakeholders.
“I am the team leader of the PR division in my company. I have noticed that when people apply for leave, the male leaders probe them as to why they want the day off. There is a lack of trust and the work to be done is always prioritised first. As a woman, I understand the thought process behind completing an annual sales report and heading out on a family pilgrimage. There is a genuine reason why people want a day off and unless you think about it from their shoes, you will end up a dictator,” says the PR team lead of a reputed marketing agency in Coimbatore.
Better communication and crisis management
Women are great when it comes to communicating and enhancing collaboration between various teams. A woman leader can help build connections within the team and always maintain a sense of clarity. Without sounding dominating, they can carry a sense of authority to get work done. Roles and responsibilities become clear, and this makes execution easier. They can be role models and inspire their team to work effectively by setting an example. They can put people at ease and bring out the best in teams by encouraging people to participate more.
Women are primary caregivers, and our research has shown that women who took on a caregiver role during their formative years were more likely to become leaders when they grew up. This becomes useful during a crisis. They utilise their people skills to practice inclusiveness, encourage sharing, building authentic connections, and providing constructive feedback. With a combination of compassion, communication and collaboration, women are more adept at handling emergencies and coping during a crisis.
Women make good mentors
When we look through the lens of the younger generation, we see a group of driven individuals, especially young girls, seeking mentors to guide them. They wish to advance in their jobs and become successful by turning to the right coaches and qualified mentors. Women make excellent mentors as they can guide their team and individuals through real-life experiences. The skills listed above in combination with their ability to listen closely makes them excellent mentors.
It is known that women who are currently in leadership roles did not have good mentors or role models when they were climbing up the ladder. The WOW Factors Research Report reveals that these leaders are now committed to helping others in their leadership journey by creating a culture of trust, encouraging people to push the boundaries and inspiring them to find their voice.
“When one of my students turned to me for mentorship, I spent my first month with him understanding him on a deeper level. I noticed his talents and what he was passionate about. Following a tactical approach helped me tap into those skills. This helped me leverage those skills and guide him down a path that would help him sustain in the long run. It is this skill that women possess where they go beyond just scratching the surface that helps them form meaningful relationships with people. We need more women leaders and mentorship programs to focus on a bright future ahead,” said a qualified self-help coach.
Let’s wrap up
It’s time to break down the historical barriers to help women advance in the economy. Women have proven their abilities time and again despite facing disparities with men. By bringing in more women in leadership positions and giving them opportunities for advancement, you can:
- Encourage diverse ideas and unique perspectives
- Build teams that are more collaborative and empathetic
- Enhance participation and support from all employees
- Build a culture of inclusiveness and flexibility
The opportunities for success and relationships built with clients will become stronger and permanent with women by your side! Now go back to the riddle I asked you first and read it through the eyes of a business leader. Isn’t it more obvious now why we need women in roles of leadership and the difference they can make? Let’s encourage women and give them opportunities to work to their fullest potential!
To download a copy of our WOW Factors Research Report, click here.