How to forge a company culture that drives female leadership

women-leadership

Female leadership is not a passing fad. It is a modern necessity. More and more companies are turning to the talent and skills of women, not only in pursuit of business equity, but also profitability. In fact, according to McKinsey, companies with women in management positions are 25% more likely to achieve above-average profitability.

However, according to other data from the Women in Business 2023 report, only 32.4% of senior management positions are currently held by women. This proves that there is still a long way to go before we achieve true gender equality in corporate leadership.

But what do we really mean when we talk about female leadership? And how can you promote it in your company? Keep reading to discover more.

What is female leadership and where does it originate?

Female leadership is defined as the occupation of leadership roles by women within companies (or other settings), where the skills, attributes and leadership styles culturally associated with the female gender have a chance to stand out.

Although female leadership has existed as a concept for centuries, the actual term is relatively new. There is no clear consensus on who initially coined it, but it is believed that it first rose to popularity in the middle of the 20th century against the backdrop of the feminist movement. Since then, women have been challenging the social and cultural norms that often relegated them to secondary roles, carving a path into different areas of leadership.

Marilyn Loden, Sally Helgessen and Helen Fisher were the first authors who publicly addressed the topic of leadership and women.

Key characteristics of female leadership

It’s important to highlight that female leadership is not defined by a set of rigid characteristics, but rather by women’s ability to adapt their leadership style to the specific needs of different contexts.

Despite this, Helgesen and Fisher’s research has identified a range of key strengths and skills that we can consider common across female leadership. These include:

  • Listening: Female leadership is distinguished by women’s ability to actively listen to fellow team members. This technique allows leaders to understand the concerns, needs, and perspectives of others.
  • Communication: Women leaders often stand out for their ability to communicate clearly, directly and empathetically.
  • Teamwork: Female leadership is characterized by the promotion of close collaboration and teamwork among employees.
  • Empathy: Female leaders tend to understand and respond effectively to the needs and emotions of their team, which helps in building strong, trusting relationships throughout the organization.

Why is it essential for women to occupy leadership roles?

Changes in the modern business environment have not only introduced new ways of working, but also demanded movement away from a more traditional leadership style. Today, organizations need innovative, people-focused leaders with the ability to listen and empathize.

Crucially, studies show that women have a remarkable ability to develop the key soft skills needed to fit this new leadership style. These skills include, for example, emotional intelligence and social skills, both of which are becoming increasingly important within companies.

Thanks to such skills, female leaders can reduce employee burnout, as well as encourage, motivate and inspire their teams. Additionally, countless reports reveal that organizations led by women achieve higher profitability and have lower turnover rates, increasing both revenue and productivity.

The main advantages of female leadership

Let’s go into more detail. According to a report by the World Labor Organization, companies that achieve gender equality in key positions unlock the following benefits. They:

  • Promote innovation and creativity
  • Build a better reputation, internally and externally
  • Retain employees more effectively, and attract better talent.
  • Achieve better economic performance.
  • Generate a diversity of perspectives and approaches when it comes to decision-making.

Want to know more? Watch this video:

Women and the glass ceiling: what does it really mean?

The glass ceiling is a metaphor, first described by Marilyn Loden in 1978, for the invisible barriers that prevent women from reaching senior management positions in organizations. Despite the progress made over recent decades, women continue to be underrepresented at the highest levels of many companies.

The causes of the glass ceiling are diverse and complex. They include:

  • Gender stereotypes: An adherence to traditional gender roles can lead to the perception that women are not as suitable as men to occupy leadership roles.
  • A lack of opportunities: Women often have less access to support networks and professional development opportunities than men.
  • Difficulty balancing work and family life: A lack of flexibility in many companies makes it more difficult for women to combine the needs of work and family life.

How to promote female leadership and shatter the glass ceiling

Promoting women’s leadership within an organization has clear competitive advantages. However, it requires the use of specific strategies to stimulate and inspire the best talent. Below are some of the key measures you can take to achieve this:

  • Address the specific challenges and requirements of female leadership. Provide the experiences and resources women need to become effective in leadership roles.
  • Promote greater flexibility in career trajectories. Encourage female talent to take the initiative on planning their careers, by helping them to assume more responsibilities and create leadership development strategies.
  • Improve opportunities and heighten motivation for professional women. Additionally, aim to create a culture of diversity, and demonstrate commitment to gender equality throughout your organization.
  • Develop dedicated female leadership programs that allow women to share experiences, encourage conversation, and promote new ways of thinking and acting.
  • Create a robust professional network that supports female talent, improves access to information, and opens up internal promotions and new job opportunities to women.
  • Offer comprehensive training plans that focus on the challenges and requirements of female leadership, as well as highlight gender equality issues. In addition, provide guidance for learning, and establish coaching and mentoring programs.

Discover more about this in the following video:

Fundamental skills for female leaders

Below is a list of some of the fundamental skills that will help your female employees to succeed:

  • Team leadership
  • Crisis management and problem resolution
  • Managing relationships within a company
  • Organization, planning and management skills
  • Strategic vision
  • Innovation
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Assertive communication
  • Diversity management

Now that you know all about female leadership and its benefits, are you ready to take the next step to empower your female professionals? At isEazy Skills, we help you develop the talent to produce outstanding female leaders, capable of creating more innovative, collaborative, empathetic, united and flexible work environments. Request a free demo of our platform, and discover training in digital skills and knowledge designed for the leaders of tomorrow .

Yolanda Amores

CONTENT CREATED BY:

Yolanda Amores

Chief Marketing Officer at isEazy

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