Women Make Exceptional Leaders – During and Post COVID-19
We are heartened and strongly agree with CNN Business’ publication by author Michelle P. King, the Director of Inclusion at Netflix – “Responding to Women are Better Leaders. The Pandemic Proves It.” Ellig Group is the leader in identifying, recruiting and onboarding more diverse and female executive talent for senior-level appointments in the C-suite and boardroom, ensuring long-term success for our corporate and nonprofit clients as well as the candidates whose careers we champion. We believe companies and Governments need more women at the decision-making table. To highlight WHY we agree that women are exceptional leaders, and how research proves it, we reference an article by HBR, “Research: Women Score Higher than Men in Most Leadership Skills” on which female leadership stands out. Here we have distilled the top 6 leadership skills where women excel over men:
- Calm and courageous under pressure: We all took notice of the women that acted first at the start of COVID-19—taking the bold and unpopular stand to shut down life in the face of this invisible enemy, committing to the right course of action because it is the right thing to do. As previously mentioned, women are forging new paths as we adjust to this new reality. The pandemic has exposed weaknesses in the community, accessibility of technology (especially around education), and further issues around health discrepancies. Jacinda Ardern, Angela Merkel, London Breed, all female leaders that took immediate action in response to the pandemic, forging fast. A recent researcher, Dr. Abbie Griffith Oliver, articulates “Women have learned they have to be both agentic and competent but also warm and throw the baby shower at work.”
- Women aim for stretch goals: What is a stretch goal? As women are driven for superior outcomes, a stretch goal is a goal that surpasses the actual target. Stretch goals, set by women leaders, go beyond an anticipated goal, to further push for superior results because a high aim and exceeding your own version of success is highly motivating and a quality we often see in women.
- Women are natural connectors: As referenced in Michelle King’s article – “What people need now are leaders with empathy, compassion and an ability to show support — skills that women leaders tend to exhibit more than men.” In this relational style, women build relationship bridges, collaborating, building trust, and cultivating strong diverse and inclusive teams in order to make better decisions. As natural as nurturing comes for women, we easily turn to a woman when there is a human need, a need for support, or to be embraced. When you fall and skin your knee, you go looking for your Mom.
- Inspiration drives, while motivation pulls: I feel completely inspired and motivated when listening to how female leaders are handling COVID-19, both in corporate America and in public service. Profound leadership qualities are emerging in response to this global pandemic, as women have this innate need to protect and see opportunity in how we better serve going forward. Developing and nurturing their people with great enthusiasm beyond what is believed possible for them to grow and take on more responsibilities. Strength begets strength. And for many women, when we see strength in our female role models, we become stronger too.
- Demonstrates humility: Practices self-improvement and will admit to a wrong decision, righting her wrongs, seeking input, and listening. Women understand the best ideas do not come on their own, input is key. Alexa Von Tobel, Founder & CEO of LearnVest famously said “Here’s my bad idea; make it better.” One must hear from others and act on their ideas garnering support and transformation. Listen first, think on it, listen again, act on it and then listen again. The best ideas are a collaborative effort that start with humility.
- Empathetic communicator: Engaging people to listen to their point of view before making decisions and communicates with empathy. We have learned that women are more “people-oriented” spending more of their time developing, communicating, and coaching other leaders in their organization.
Without the physical presence of emotional interaction – we need an empathetic and compassionate leadership tone. Women are strong, flexible, and recognize we have all become humanized in order to give as much comfort, communication, and ideation, imparting we are all in this together. Having a diverse repertoire of “traditional male qualities” as well as “traditional female qualities” has served women well in addressing, responding and leading through this current crisis.
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