Women in leadership roles are on the rise and for good reason. There are many positive benefits to having women in leadership roles in businesses. There is both a financial and emotional value that comes from having more women in leadership roles on all levels within a company.
There was a study on Fortune 500 companies that showed when there was a greater representation of women at board level and through leadership roles, that there was not just a greater financial result, but also there were higher levels of employee engagement. People who were in organisations that had a higher number of female managers said they had greater job satisfaction, they felt that the organisation cared more about their career development, there was less burnout, and they felt they had a greater life-work balance. The interesting thing was, that applied to both the males and the females, but it applied even more strongly to the males. This just goes to show the positive impact women in leadership roles are having on the companies that are choosing to embrace this work culture.
We’re moving into a time when we’ve got younger people coming into the workforce, and they’re not like Gen X’s. They demand to have work-life balance, they demand to have their emotional and lifestyle needs met. Our more female version of leadership has a very strong role to play in the future.
However, there is certainly a shortage of mentors for women in leadership roles. We are still living in a patriarchal society where the majority of managers and leaders are men. And most men have been brought up to have a sense of entitlement to hold these positions of power, whereas women traditionally have been brought up to be facilitators and nurturers. So, when a woman wishes to take a key leadership role, there are often very few role models or mentors further up the hierarchy to assist her. We all know that anybody having a mentor is an important facet of career development, so if women are to rise without a mentor it’s a much tougher journey for them.
Without a mentor, what do women need most to get into these leadership roles?
Women must have courage, the courage to take more risks, to dare to be different, and to drive this change we’re all looking for.
Both males and females are very important in organisations, women don’t have to replicate men. Women know we have values of our own, and we should have the confidence and the courage to simply be ourselves. Very often men feel very comfortable in their right to hold these positions of leadership, but women can tend to suffer from the imposter syndrome and are always trying to prove their value. One of the great advantages that we have as women is that no one expects us to be like men in dark suits, we can dare to be different.
We can go against the grain, we can break the rules, and we can challenge the established thinking, and that is exactly what we are doing.
This blog is based predominantly on the information given by Barbara Ketley during her appearance on Women In Leadership: A Stronger Than My Excuses Show.