Why Women Make Great Leaders!
Our recent League of Extraordinary Women screening of the award winning documentary ‘Miss Representation, really got me thinking about how women are portrayed, especially in the workplace.
From ‘bimbo’ to ‘bitch’ there are some serious stereotypes about women. The media portrays us as icy, tough and scary- or weak, emotional and unstable. Either way we really can’t win!
So do women make great bosses?
The argument is mixed. Study after study and article after article takes on this ‘gender’ battle with mixed views. Research done by a recruitment firm www.UKjobs.net stated that ‘incredibly both men and women are in total agreement that men make better bosses.’ Apparently women are seen as bitchy and hormonal and cannot help but bring personal matters into the workplace. What a load of rubbish!
Other Aussie based research by Steps Leadership Programs says that ‘women equalled men in the area of emotional stability’ showing the stereotype against us is nothing but that, a ‘stereotype’ that’s certainly not helped by the media.
Being a female ‘boss’ myself, I believe women can act as amazing ‘leaders’ in business. In fact, we often have certain ‘talents’ that our male counterparts done share. Women’s intuition is a strong example. Our ability to ‘feel’ and ‘understand’ our employees gives us the ability to relate and empathise on a different level. We tend to have stronger communication skills which allow our employees to feel comfortable coming to us no matter what the situation. There is certainly no weakness when it comes to great female leaders. We are tough, we are passionate and we genuinely care about our people.
Another survey has found that women in senior positions lead in a more democratic way that allows employees to participate in decision making. We are likeable, and we tend to be long term thinkers which give us a step up when running our own business.
So, the argument continues…
When all is said and done there are amazing examples of both male and female leaders. If you want to know if you fit into the ‘great leader’ category here is what I look for and develop in all of the leaders in my company.
1. Are you motivated by others succeeding?
The strongest leaders do not concentrate on their own personal wins; they are driven by seeing their own staff succeed. They measure their success by how well their team are doing at all times.
2. Do you give recognition when it’s due?
One of the most simplest and effective ways to motivate your staff is to give them a genuine ‘well done’. If you can honestly look around your workplace and see signs of your appreciation (be it a hand written post it note saying well done’ or a gift or certificate to recognize someone’s hard work) then you are a great leader!
3. Do you treat everyone as an individual?
Managing and motivating everyone individually is the key to increasing productivity and helps to inspire people to do their best. Know your people and build a strong relationship with them. Even remembering small things such as a partners name, or a story they have told you makes your team know you care.
4. Do you give constructive feedback?
Most people love to learn and love to get feedback. If you spot something that can be improved on, let them know. Be genuine and specific. Constant feedback will raise standards and performance.
5. Are you a good communicator?
Clear communication is the key to being an effective leader. Be clear and specific when dealing with your employees. Make sure you openly lay down expectations so there are no ‘grey’ areas where misunderstandings can occur.
6. Do you talk long term?
Creating a long term vision for your business is extremely important in employee retention. Talk ‘long term’ regularly to keep your staff loyal and excited about where the company is heading.
7. How do you deal with mistakes and problems?
A good leader doesn’t simply ‘react’ when they are confronted with a problem. Listen and think about your response, then act in a calm and collected way. Be constructive. Your staff needs to feel they can come to you no matter what the situation. You need to be approachable.
So, ladies now it’s up to us to stand strong and stop these stereotypes! If you are a young female Entrepreneur that is tackling any of the above issues then The League of extraordinary Women is the perfect place to give you support and motivation to make your mark. Check out when our next events are taking place and become a member at www.leagueofextraordinarywomen.com.au.
[pictured Liz Atkinson]