Time and again, I was addressed by female colleagues facing individual challenges in their careers. And it always occured to me that we as women have our strengths but we usually make too little consious use of them in business. Men have developed the same strengths, methods and have their own toolbox on how to be assertive and successful in business. And they also make much better use of supporting each other in business.
In times of crisis much weight is put on womens’ shoulders. We take care of people, clean up the mess and get the important things done. It’s in the nurturing nature of women to tackle such a challenge. Men do that too but there is a difference. Men also make sure to use the tide for their career development and look out for each other. Women should also take care of their personal and career pursuit and make sure to be fulfilled and successful.
What it takes for us to be fulfilled and successful in business is an ability to bring our whole selves to work. All of who we are, all the gifts and talents, our fears, our heart and soul and the things that matter to us. But that takes courage and in order to get to courage you need to walk through vulnerability. We all walked that path the past few months during the beginning of the pandemic going into lockdown. By doing so we had the chance to bring those gifts and talents to light. I think this is a great opportunity to appreciate those treasures and own the way you share them.
Looking at the time of lockdown, the interesting thing is that the countries that have dealt with the crisis in a fairly good way are lead or co-lead by women. It’s quite fascinating actually when you look at those countries with female leadership, the path that women took, the policies that they adopted, and the communication style that was in play was quite stunning.
Of course it’s more than that. Egalitaritan societies being better managed, the added factor of the complementary nature of gender in business management has been the subject of many studies. In those countries power is enhanced by the complementary nature of two genders contributing. In ecosystems with greater gender parity, leadership is driven by supposed “feminine qualities” such as empathy, copassion, listening and collaboration. These are distinct from the characteristics associated with the exercise of traditional managerial, supervisory and controlling power.
These different gender-based attributes are more reflective of the perceptions, stereotypes and biases that characterize our societies. Women can display supposedly male management traits and vice versa. And there are cultures, roles and situations that encourage women to do so.
Perhaps this is where diversity and inclusion comes into play. A topic that successful companies consider a source of competitive advantage that's essential for their growth strategy. Something that can be a matter of corporate social responsibility or regulatory compliance. Diversity that can be considered in a broader sense as both inherent (e.g., gender, ethnicity and, where possible, sexual orientation) and acquired (e.g., international work experience, education and training, socioeconomic background) forms of diversity.
Check out our workshop section if you like this blog. Female Leadership / Die Weibliche Seite der Führung is a recurring workshop dedicated to showcase the multifaceted nature of feminity, female rhetoric and leadership. It's to encourage women and men to use their feminity to be successful in business.