Most businesses don’t make decisions based on feelings or hunches. Corporate leaders are bound by their fiduciary duties to critically consider all of the available information before making a decision so as to protect and further the interests of the company and its shareholders.
But the world doesn’t need any more corporate leaders that are only interested in protecting the wellbeing of the company and its stockholders. It needs more director-level leadership that looks out for its employees equally as much. And women are the predominantly-untapped champions for this undertaking.
John Kotter, the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus, at the Harvard Business School, defines leadership as:
. . . Creating a vision of the future and strategies for producing the changes needed to achieve that vision; aligning people around the vision; and motivating them to overcome barriers and produce the changes needed to achieve the vision.”
Here I offer up data and insights to unequivocally prove female leadership will benefit any company looking to foster internal and external growth and well-being.
Aligning People around the Vision and Motivating Change
Let’s start at the end of Kotter’s quote above and work backward because, as many businesses fail to recognize, people should come first; happier employees leads to increased productivity.
This is what makes up-and-coming job platform Woo.io so special and powerful; it caters to pairing talented tech professionals with organizations that match their workplace desires, leading to increased satisfaction and retention.
This lack of employee recognition is also why American workers are becoming increasingly unsatisfied with corporate jobs; many cite a lack of work/life balance as a reason for disdain. It is predicted that by 2020, more than 40% of the American workforce will be freelancers. Seeing a correlation here?
In order for a company to maintain the growth it needs while alluring, acquiring, and retaining talented employees, it must proudly flaunt its corporate attributes which engender personal fulfillment (such as diversity and work/life balance) on company websites, recruitment platforms like Woo, LinkedIn, and other social networks.
Once on board, female leaders are naturally more inclined to promote these types of employee benefits internally and externally as many are keenly aware of the struggles of having an important job and a large family to raise while craving that same diversity in the workplace.
Moreover, the previously mentioned Gallup study has shown that companies which tout a more gender-diverse collective have 22% lower turnover rates while gaining the added benefit of more easily recruiting staff.
And as far as office morale is concerned, a better work/life balance is not the only advantage women bring to the table; female leadership is more effective at engaging employees than males.
All of this points to the fact that females are better equipped to align “people around the vision” and motivate them to “produce changes.”
In order to get those types of female leaders in the door that will benefit your company by engaging employees and promoting business incentives, companies need to toot their proverbial horn about its gender-diversity and employee recognition initiatives.
Enacting Strategic Changes
The second part of Kotter’s quote refers to leaders creating strategies which will ultimately engender the initial vision to come to life.
Women play a key role in strategic planning, and that is largely due to diversity within a team’s structure.
When it comes to problem-solving, a study from the Anita Borg Institute (ABI) found that,
. . . diverse groups tend to perform better than homogeneous ones, even if the members of the homogeneous groups are individually more capable,
. . . the diverse group almost always outperforms the group of the best [homogenous groups] by a substantial margin.
This effectively illustrates that by simply integrating female and male leadership, a company gains a meaningful competitive edge over organizations that tout male-only management.
Creating a Vision for the Future
Finally, we come full circle back to the beginning of Kotter’s definition of leadership: Creating a vision of the future.
Innovation is a pillar of any organization and what drives a company into the future. Without cutting-edge and modern ideas, a company will ultimately die; just look at Kodak.
Innovation, however, is rarely fostered by a single man or women and is never brought to fruition by a singleton; it is born through a team of people working together and blending unique perspectives and concepts.
The previously mentioned Gallup studies have also shown that female leadership supports innovation as
. . . women and men have different viewpoints, ideas and market insights, which enables better problem solving, ultimately leading to superior performance at the business unit level.
Additionally, female leadership enables companies to receive a higher ROI from its ventures (as noted by the aforementioned ABI study) and helps to drive more revenue per employee.
All of this is not to say that it’s time to kick men out of the boardroom and let women take their seats. This merely illustrates that women, who have often been highly undervalued and underutilized in the business world, bring immense advantages to corporate leadership. And when the two genders integrate into a functional team, the value brought forth can be astronomically more substantial than a homogenous team could ever produce.