What Women Bring to Leadership

The BBC’s Katty Kay and ABC’s Claire Shipman co-authored a book a couple of years back called Womenomics. In it they cite, among other things, a number of companies where the presence of women in among top leadership had a positive effect on the firm’s financial success. For example:

  • Accounting firm Ernst & Young’s research found that companies with more women in senior management make more money.
  • McKinsey & Co. found that greater gender diversity in management of European firms led to higher-than-average stock performance.
  • Pepperdine University found that Fortune 500 firms with the best records of putting women in top jobs were 18% to 69% more profitable than the median companies in their industries.

I think that the ways women tend to approach tasks and projects reflects the methods employed by the most effective leaders of either gender. The complexity of today’s work requires a more complex approach to doing that work. It calls for bringing to bear on our challenges a wider range of opinions and perspectives. It calls for a more collaborative approach and teamwork. It calls for genuinely wanting to bring out the best in our employees and helping them grow.

All three of these approaches coincide more closely with what women bring to the table of enterprise than what men bring. This is a generalization, of course, but it is surely what I have observed in teams and management groups with which I have worked.

That said, the most vibrant teams and the most engaged workshop classes I have experienced have had a healthy mix of males and females in them. I hate to say it but, from my experience, all-female classes are not sufficiently challenging of one another as they work the material presented and all-male groups have an excess of edginess and jockeying in their deliberations.

Give me the ol’ mixture of Yin & Yang any day.

© 2011 – 2016, Ian Cook. All rights reserved.

Ian Cook About Ian Cook

Ian Cook, presenter and consultant, works with managers who want to increase their effectiveness as a leader and build a stronger team. To book Ian for a training seminar, team facilitation or keynote presentation, call toll-free at: 1-888-FULCRUM (385-2786) or e-mail: ian@888fulcrum.com. For more articles and book reviews of interest to managers please go to: www.888fulcrum.com.