Some say that leadership is a God-given talent. Others say that leaders are born. While others argue that leaders are made. When it comes to women, I believe majority of them are born leaders. Why am I saying so? Women generally excel at nurturing competencies like motivating, inspiring and developing others. Women are better at empathy, sensing the thoughts and feelings of others and responding in some appropriate way. In a world that considers leadership skills based on personal interaction rather than authority, then women are definitely ahead.
Gender diversity remains a contentious topic in the modern workforce, especially leadership roles. In today’s organizational setting, you’ll find more women at the lowest levels and these numbers decrease as you move up the corporate ladder. A certain study revealed that there are only 3% to 4% women at the C.E.O level worldwide. Why is this even a concern? Remember when women move up the corporate ladder, they are perceived positively by the society; the more reason why their voices matter.
When women are part of the leadership team, the quality and diversity of ideas is more inclusive as compared to an all-men team. I have been a leader from a very young age and I can attest to the number of times men let me have the say because they thought they were doing me a favor by giving me a chance to speak. I remember sometime back there was a fuss on twitter when an all-men team was at the helm of discussing menstruation issues and it got me thinking that just maybe, just maybe, there are men who get their monthly periods and are therefore fit enough to advise on this topic without the help of women.
Being Part Of The Conversation
Working in a team means exchanging varied ideas and learning from one another. One way I’ve learnt to benefit from a team is by assuming that am in bookstore. The only reason I walk into a bookstore is because I admit that I don’t know everything and am not too thick to look for more knowledge. In fact, I find myself asking people where to find a certain book. Not only do I lack the knowledge but also don’t know where to get it. Crazy, right? Being part of the conversation means admitting that there are things you don’t know and can only learn when you ask questions and give your team members a chance to talk.
The above paragraph is very important to this article because in a team setting, you’ll find that women tend to keep quiet and shy away from asking questions. Women usually feel the constant pressure to never make mistakes that’s why in this kind of setting, they’ll feel like they’re being evaluated. I kid you not, there’s no fun when you’re feeling evaluated. This is the reason why women who don’t shy away from asking the tough questions are considered masculine and wayward.
Women voices are underrepresented in many public affairs settings like corporate board meetings, school board meetings, town meetings, rural community meetings, and online news sites.
- Decisions may be skewed to favor one gender which may not accurately represent the will of the people
- Women related issues like menstruation, child care and people with disabilities, may not become funding priorities.
- Policy decisions may be skewed against survivors of sexual assault, against prosecution of sexual assault offenders, or against gender pay equity.
I have had the opportunity to attend a good number of women leadership forums where I met amazing women who made me appreciate the value of women in decision making. These are women who enjoy their own space to test themselves and find their own rhythm. Women who are not afraid of trial and error. And from my own very few years of experience as a female leader, I’ve learned that I don’t have to rely on favors to get up the ladder but rather work hard to earn respect and influence other women to work towards breaking the glass ceiling.
When women voices miss at the leadership table, unscrupulous decisions can be made which either favor men or rather undermine women. That’s why many organizational cultures are still unfavorable to women especially young mothers. A 2015 study revealed that for every 100 women promoted to manager, 130 men are promoted. Why the discrepancy? Is it that more men are learned and competent as compared to women?
Gender balance at the workplace especially in the managerial roles needs to be championed further. Of course, there has been positive progress in the number of women managers over the years but their voices are still not as loud as they should be. The problem is that when women keep quiet, that authentic voice is not heard meaning everyone else suffers in their silence.
Imagine what would happen to an organization when a mindset that simply can’t afford to make a mistake brings ideas to the table.