WOMEN IN SENIOR LEADERSHIP STRENGTHEN COMPANY PERFORMANCE
Like you, I flinch when I hear gender adjectives used where they aren’t necessary – a ‘female’ GP, a ‘female CEO’. We shouldn’t need to call these out. The gender is largely irrelevant.
But the further up the company you go, the fewer women you see. Women comprise only 28% of Australian GMs.
This fact is even more alarming when you consider the benefits that research shows women’s presence in senior leadership brings to the business.
Here are 6 benefits of increasing the number of women in senior leadership.
1. Gender Diversity Increases Profitability
We kick off with an essential one. Women in senior leadership help increase profitability.
Importantly, this is not through growth. Having more women in leadership positions doesn’t tend to increase growth.
Instead it increases profits on the back of the same sales. We can be looking at improved efficiency, productivity and stronger risk assessment for this improvement.
2. Diverse Leadership Makes Stronger Decisions
This is important but not surprising.
By reducing the blinkered decisions of homogeneous groups, diversity brings better decision-making.
It is hypothesised that women, with on average higher levels of empathy, can put themselves more easily in the shoes of the customer, hence putting the customer into the company decision-making. Which can only be a good thing.
3. Include Women in Leadership to Welcome Change
If you’re wondering how all those innovative, male-dominant tech companies manage without women, Post does not say women are more innovative.
Her study finds that companies with higher proportions of female leadership are more open to change and more inclined to try things themselves rather than achieve innovation via M&A.
4. Women place Greater Emphasis on Skills Development
Women place greater emphasis on skills development, both for themselves and for others.
This leads to a better trained organisation and a culture where leaders are made, not born. It is bound to lead to an empowering company environment where growth is encouraged and supported.
5. Shareholders like More Gender Diverse Leadership
This is more of a opt-out than opt-in piece of evidence.
Investors who become aware that the companies they invest in don’t have a gender-diverse leadership team are more inclined to sell their shares.
It would seem that companies can increase stability by being more gender-inclusive at senior levels.
6. Paving the Way for Women Leaders for the Future
Marian Wright Edelman has become famous for her work and for saying ‘We cannot be what we cannot see.’
But it’s not just that women are encouraged by role-models.
A study by Kellogg’s School of Management showed that women in senior leadership do significantly better if they have a small close women’s network to associate with. Not only do we need others to aspire to, we need others to support us.
3 TOP TIPS TO INCREASE AWARENESS OF YOUR VALUE TO THE BUSINESS THIS WEEK
If you’re a woman aspiring to senior leadership, take a look at what you’re adding to the business. If you’re a man, think about the leadership skills that women bring that may complement yours.
1) Be more aware of what you bring to a diverse team – if you see you’re bringing something, consider calling it out more clearly. Have confidence that this is making a positive difference and that getting to strong decisions is rarely easy but hugely satisfying.
2) Are you a champion of change? If you’re encountering others who would rather change happened elsewhere, feel confident that this is something you could champion. It may be something you’re stronger at, so, while working with a change-resistant team can be challenging, you may be the best person for the job that the company is crying out to be done.
3) Look out for other women you can support and encourage. If you get a seat at the table, leave the door open behind you. It only opens from the inside. Can you support other women this week or suggest a female mentor for a female team member?
If you’d like a copy of my white paper The Female GM’ with top tips on how to get the job and excel at it, click here.