The world is in desperate need of great leaders. Yet, many leadership opportunities are withheld from half of the workforce.
A gender gap between male and female leadership in a working environment seems to be one of the most controversial topics garnering a lot of attention across industries. Some people still hold onto a traditional viewpoint that men are born to be leaders and women are supposed to behave like subordinates who merely support their effective functioning; and they in no instance should take over men’s authority.
According to a 2013 Gallup poll, just over half of Americans say they don’t have a preference, but those who do strongly lean towards men. 40% of women and 29% of men say they prefer a male boss to a female one.
However, times have changed. Technology advancement and higher quality of information exchange nowadays drive a different perspective towards the leader’s general outlook and bridging gender gaps.
With that in mind, here are top reasons why promoting and supporting female leaders should be a top priority for all businesses.
Disclaimer: This article isn’t to show that women are better than men, but to only promote that gender gaps shouldn’t be the predetermining factor to value someone’s worth, efficiency and contribution at work.
1. Diversity of thought leads to better problem-solving.
According to decades of research, collaborating with individuals of different gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and race leads to increased innovation and enhanced problem-solving.
Time in time again, it is proven that when we collaborate with people of different genders, sexual orientations, ethnicity and race in our workplace, we all do better work. Diversity in leadership pool means greater diversity of thought, which, in turn, leads to improved problem-solving and greater business benefits.
Therefore, having women as office managers also means on-boarding different methods and strategies of thinking, as well as the increased capability to understand the pain points of all team members. Women managers from different backgrounds can provide an outstanding base from which to build upon.
2. Women Make Brilliant Mentors
One of the key aspects of leadership is the ability to help their team members develop their own skills and strengths. Women are naturally nurturing, which in the best scenarios can translate to helping those around them succeed.
According to Pew Research Survey in 2014, 30% of the respondents felt women made better mentors than men — while only 5% felt men were better mentors than women. Mentorship can be incredibly important for career growth and job satisfaction, so having more women managers in any company can give employees an edge. Having an increase of women managers can also lend a hand in setting up the next generation of women leaders and we get even closer to equality in the workplace.
However, it’s unproductive to argue that all women are better mentors than men. Regardless of the mentor’s gender, all employees need good mentors to help them progress in their careers and aspirations.
3. Women are skilled at relationship building
Women value relationship building and collaboration, which is essential for management. With their presences in a leadership role, women are more liking to collaborate with their peers to strengthen their team.
Studies have shown that women leaders are generally considered to be more friendly, empathetic and better communicators. They can build effective employee relationships with colleagues, subordinates and even the top management.
More often than not, it doesn’t matter to a woman leader if you are a woman or man employee seated at the other end of the table. They are good listeners and effective communicators to help resolve employee’s personal concerns with understanding and empathy.
4. Women are strong communicators
Communication isn’t just about talking — it includes nonverbal cues, reading emotions, and effective listening. Thankfully, women tend to excel at all of these.
Studies have found that most women communicate better than men. It’s because of how their brains are wired and how they’ve been conditioned to care for others. Although men and women possess language protein, research has found that women possess more of it compared to men. That’s why the average woman is able to speak three times more words than the average man.
Therefore, women managers tend to understand the importance of listening and taking in the nuances. They excel at encouraging others, and they understand the importance of maintaining a positive tone in the workplace. Both of these qualities are valuable in managing teams and more often comprised of people from diverse backgrounds and experiences.
5. Women are more empathetic in nature
Some research suggests women’s brains are more likely to signal empathy than men’s brains. A 1995 study in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology showed that women involuntarily imitate other peoples’ emotional expressions more than men—a behavior thought to reflect increased activity of “mirror neurons,” cells in the brain that activate both when someone performs an action and when he or she sees someone else perform that same action.
In other words, most women are naturally more empathetic and value relationships. This enables them to have a strong understanding of what drives and motivates people, and how to acknowledge different people for their performance.
Women managers, nonetheless, can effectively take other people’s perspectives, feeling their pain, and experiencing compassion for them.
6. Women work harder to defy the odds
The joke, “Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good,” may not be totally off the mark in the workplace. According to some studies, many women still come to the same conclusion that they still have to work harder than men.
This is the reason why women oftentimes feel the need to defy the odds and be more productive. According to research by Hive, women work 10% harder than men in today’s offices. This conclusion is the product of two other statistics. First, both men and women actually complete about 66% of their assigned work. However, women are assigned 10% more work than men these days — that they achieve the same completion rate tells us that they’re being more industrious.
In a nutshell, women managers make great leaders because the odds are against them to lead. When they’re the underdog, it takes an extra push to get to the top. That’s why the women who emerge on top are extraordinarily strong and capable.
There You Have It!
Everyone, regardless of gender, does share the same starting point towards pursuing a career, including the career path to reach the pinnacles of success in a company.
While we might partially agree, men are different from women with regards to their styles of working, leadership and of course, physical attributes. However, both of them do possess equal rights to pursue education, express their opinions, thoughts, and ideas, scaling up notch-higher to achieve the dreams and be successful in their own right.
Therefore, gender shouldn’t be a factor in whether or not a person can be a great leader — a person’s leadership abilities should depend on their individual strengths and personality traits. No matter how you look at it, a more gender-diverse workforce is better for business.
Happy Women’s History Month!
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