We need 60 years to achieve gender equality in the professional sphere. 132 globally. Diversity brings an expanded perspective to teams, which fosters better performance through an inclusive work environment.
Recognizing the current difficulties in retaining talent, companies that value female leadership maintain competitive advantages and are better positioned to understand and respond to the needs of a broader and more diverse marketplace.
Female Leadership : Definition
There is no such thing as female leadership. I am aware of the impact my words may have on you. Neuroscientific studies show that there are no biological differences between the male and female brain that could prove different management styles.
We are used to associating softness with female executives and less emotional expression with male executives, but this responds to the roles of each gender in society for centuries.
The behaviors of women leaders, therefore, are biased by characteristics related to their integration and the disruption this has caused in professional relationships.
Characteristics of female leadership
Instead of talking about female leadership, I prefer to talk about the integration of gender leadership. After more than 20 years of experience working with equitable teams, my observation is that this is conducive to emotional intelligence. As a result, companies overcome barriers to business progress more quickly. According to more than 50 teams I have coached, the challenges of communication, empathy and even interpretation of reality (90% of the problems) are managed more quickly when the teams are diverse.
Companies undergoing a transformation plan observe high levels of efficiency in departments with a strong representation of women, because:
- Communication is more effective: Women tend to favor open, collaborative and transparent communication. The exchange of ideas provides an opportunity for self-expression, which always fosters creativity, innovation and skill development.
- Risk management: Female executives often seek a balance between prudence and in-depth analysis, leading to more thoughtful long-term decisions.
- Transformational leadership: Inspiring, motivating and encouraging team members to reach their full potential are characteristics often found in female leadership styles.
Advantages of female leadership
There are 3 main advantages of teams managed with female leadership:
- They foster confidence in oneself and others, as well as collaboration, leading to personal growth and better overall team performance.
- Conflict resolution: The women’s more collaborative approach to conflict resolution enables mutually beneficial solutions to be found and emphasizes the search for compromise and consensus, which contributes to maintaining positive and harmonious relationships within the team.
- Relevant overview: Women often bring unique perspectives due to their experiences, education and communication styles. This favors a more balanced and complete decision-making process by taking into account a wide range of opinions.
Importance of female leadership
Promoting women’s leadership allows for a more equitable representation of women in managerial positions and positions of power. This promotes diversity, equal opportunity and inclusion within the organization, which is beneficial to society as a whole. The study developed by the World Economic Forum in 2022 shows that the countries approaching equality are the Nordic countries, led by Iceland in first place, followed by Finland in second place and Norway in third place. Afghanistan is in last place with only 43.5 points out of 100. France ranks 15th with 79.1 points. This study measures 4 pillars, which are economic participation and opportunities, educational success, health and survival, and political power.
Keys to female leadership
The keys to retaining female executives lie in flexibility and confidence.
Flexibility in terms of childcare and schedules that provide freedom to adapt to their needs. Nordic countries organize work schedules according to the schedules of day care centers and schools. Thus, the working day begins half an hour after the daycare centers open and ends half an hour before they close.
We should not forget childcare support, whether in the form of financial assistance or childcare facilities in the workplace. A woman is absent from work 4.5 times more often than her male colleagues when a child is sick.
Confidence is also key and depends to a large extent on the “normalization of the situation”.
How to promote female leadership
Women still carry generations and generations of household and childcare responsibilities on their shoulders. Their role models, mothers and grandmothers, most likely did not have to manage two agendas at the same time as they do. Blaming continues to be a reality for women who have a family and a position of responsibility to manage. It is one of the symptoms of impostor syndrome.
Companies that work in favor of female leadership know how to make a difference. As long as performance is an obligation of results, no matter how it is achieved, and it deserves flexibility and adaptation to the context, that is, confidence and autonomy of women in the management of their time.
Ontological coaching and professional coaching are also well-recognized tools to accompany leaders who wish to develop more inclusive leadership. Identifying behavioral biases allows us to react proactively to the challenges of retaining female talent.
Large companies have integrated the diversity and inclusion manager into their teams with a role of monitoring possible existing biases. This person is key in the process of talent identification and acceleration of career plans, job dating and others. I highly recommend this investment in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) sectors.
Master class Simundia Feminine Leadership
Here is a video of the master class I gave to more than 150 HR managers of French companies sponsored by Simundia.