Solomon Amar, CEO AllSTARSITyour trusted offshore development partner.
The future is female. Research shows that companies have more women on their boards surpass those without a significant margin, and organizations with greater gender diversity among senior leaders do more profitable. Despite significant progress, the share of women in senior management positions worldwide grew to 32% by 2022– the highest number ever recorded. Women are still underrepresented in leadership positions.
The reality is that we need more women in leadership positions. It’s not just good for women, it’s good for business. Let’s take a closer look at why.
The benefits of female leaders in business
A diverse workforce is an innovative workforce.
Diversity in all its forms – from gender to culture to age to race –inspires new ideas and promotes innovation. Often men and women will approach things differently because of their different life experiences. Different perspectives offer different lenses for growth and attract diverse talent. For a business to thrive, an environment of open, responsible communication and execution is vital. Putting each other to the test and collaborating with people with different perspectives can stimulate creativity and lead to breakthrough innovations that drive companies forward.
Women represent an important economic force and provide valuable consumer insight.
In 2009, Harvard Business Review wrote that women accounted for about $20 trillion in annual consumer spending, making them a more substantial potential market expansion than both China and India combined. A decade later, women’s purchasing power is Reportedly about $31 trillion. Plus Nielsen predicts that by 2028 women will own 75% of discretionary spending. But analysis only suggests that 35% of creative advertising directors in the United States are women. Given the size and purchasing power of the female demographic, I’d say women are in a great position to take advantage of this market and provide significant consumer insight.
Women often excel in the soft skills required for business leadership.
While technical skills and knowledge are essential for a successful career, CEOs regularly rate soft skills as the best most valued professional characteristics (paywall). Tremendously valuable personalities are good communicators, empaths, and self-aware individuals who are aware of their strengths and weaknesses. According to research By linking character strength to business performance, CEOs who score high on traits such as compassion and integrity can achieve a 9.35% return on assets over two years.
Soft skills and emotional intelligence can be a competitive advantage for women in business. According to a study by the international consulting firm Hay Group published in 2016, women outperform men in 11 of the 12 key traits of emotional intelligence. These include emotional self-awareness, empathy, conflict management, flexibility and teamwork – all essential skills to become a good leader at work.
How to Empower Women in Leadership Positions
Recognize and support quality and be open to differing opinions.
The most impactful way is to lead by example to show that women can have an equal place at the table and that the organization is committed to providing it. Start by acknowledging and supporting the quality input that women bring forward. Make women’s voices heard, especially in board meetings, make room for negotiation and take into account everyone’s opinion, regardless of gender.
Take advantage of women’s natural leadership potential.
Training and support in empathic leadership empowers women to lead authentically, using their natural strengths rather than trying to lead like a man. As discussed earlier, women often excel in the soft skills required for business leadership. If the company trusts female leaders in their organization to lead with compassion, the entire organization will be stronger.
Be flexible and create a healthy work-life balance.
Work is not the only priority in an employee’s life, so companies must provide flexibility to also meet customer objectives and employees’ personal goals. In particular, companies should offer flexibility to parents so that they can combine family and career.
Remote work has been a breakthrough in employee retention strategy at our companies and those of our customers. Not only can it increase efficiency, but it also gives employees the ability to have more control over other aspects of their lives.
In general, organizations can best support leaders by being clear about what success looks like (i.e. setting measurable goals) and getting them to set healthy boundaries and say no to things that don’t support those goals. In other words, define the what and let your employees figure out the how.
At my company, we’ve seen firsthand the positive results of having women in leadership roles over the years and learned that to maximize the leadership potential of the women in your organization, you really need to address their needs . It all starts with empowerment. Women leaders need to see and feel their sense of purpose within the company every step of the way. This helps them prioritize life, make plans and be resilient to setbacks. This, in turn, can have a domino effect leading to better teams, a better company, and even a better society in general.
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