18 Jul 2016, 10:13 — 4 min read
In 2016, women are on the top rung of the leadership ladder in many countries, including Germany, where Angela Merkel has ably led her country for many years. The UK now has a woman Prime Minister and the US seems likely to elect a woman President too.
However, in organisations worldwide, there are only 3% to 4% of CEOs who are women, according to Zenger Folkman. Powerful women are perceived as being icy, tough, weak, emotional, single and lonely, and having a whole lot of other toxic conflicting attributes, writes Frieda Klotz in Forbes.
Numerous scientific studies have shown that having women play various leadership roles is good for organisations. Firms with more women on their boards “outperform their rivals with a 42% higher return on sales, 66% higher return on invested capital and 53% higher return on equity."
Women bring to the table, a set of abilities that are beneficial in leadership roles, which makes them so effective at this task.
Here are five of these skills:
1. Empathy and relationship skills
Many studies have shown that women tend to score higher on tests of social sensitivity than men do. There is a lot of evidence that women pay more attention to the quality of relationships versus men, says Stephanie Vozza in Fast Company. Not only do women have better verbal and language skills than men, they are also more empathic.
Empathy is a skill that allows us to see the world from another person’s point of view. Being able to do that enhances our ability to communicate with other people, understand their unique challenges and find options that work for everyone. These relationship skills help women create and build strong teams.
2. A new perspective
If a group includes more women, its collective intelligence rises, according to Anita Woolley and Thomas W. Malone in the Harvard Business Review. Women bring a new perspective and way of looking at situations that benefits the group as a whole.
If you want your team to be more effective and look at things with a fresh perspective, hire more women leaders. It’ll help you get rid of the “same old, same old” perspective that is holding you back.
3. Juggling many roles
Women are naturally accustomed to playing many roles in their lives, especially those with families. Learning to juggle multiple roles and keep everyone happy gives them an advantage when working in an organisation, where they need to handle the, often conflicting, needs of employees, customers and stakeholders.
4. Overcoming challenges
Most women who have reached a leadership role in an organisation are there because they have learned to face and overcome multiple challenges in their lives. This makes them resilient and determined forces of nature.
Women who have overcome challenges have learned how to be effective and get things done. As Margaret Thatcher so famously said, “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”
5. Being a role model
Because there are so few women at the top, women are very conscious of their status as a role model to other women in the organisation, and the world at large. When you see yourself as a role model, you’re more likely to make decisions that are beneficial for society as a whole.
In this age, when socially responsible business practices are the only way to guard against public outrage, putting someone in charge who has every stake in being a good role model to others, is a great strategy for responsible decision making.
Although this article generalises the fact that many women have these skills, this is not always the case. Ultimately it is up to us to select leaders that possess all these skills, regardless of whether they are men or women.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.
Posted byPriya Florence Shah
I'm the Founder and CEO of BlogBrandz Digital LLP and the award-winning publisher of Naaree.com, a bestselling author, and online branding consultant. I help my clients...
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