In 2019 we need to create a world diverse in leaders, and although women have made great strides in the business world, gender bias in the workplace is still an issue. That’s why for International Women’s Day 2019 we would like to demonstrate how you can create your own work culture, supportive of every gender – from our female MD herself…
There’s little doubt that we need to create cultural and social norms that give women the connections and context they need to succeed in all commercial environments. There are still not enough women in leadership roles (nowhere near enough) however, by networking and conversing with likeminded and driven women, to gain/share advice and learn to avoid the mistakes they made. Networking is a beneficial skill. It improves your ability to not only learn from others experiences but to also discover new passion and spark from fellow professionals.
It’s proven that women are some of the most motivational and positive communicators and influencers. A fact we have appreciated first-hand through the many campaigns we’ve been a part of, such as Women In Sales Awards, Enterprising Women and Women In Business celebrations and the tremendous talent showed year on year emerging from businesses, yet, these are still a minority.
Influence is power and power can be gained through asking questions and participation in senior situations. Research shows that men are the loudest in the business meetings, men ask the most questions and men are confident with their communication. In comparison, findings show that women, regardless if more qualified, knowledgeable or experienced across a subject matter, are the ones that take a back seat, and this needs to change.
Women are born communicators. Some insights state that women are more emotional, but instead of this being a negative statement, we need to realise that’s logically the reason why we find it easier to converse at multiple levels, and the ‘emotional’ part of our communication style is used to gain authority and influence, such as inviting others for contribution, using empathy to solidify relationships with colleagues, clients and stakeholders, and bridging the gap between commercial strategy and the people that drive those agendas forward. All of which are significant senior skills.
I’m often asked why we promote ‘women’ so much as an organisation – we are founded by a woman, we are a female-dominated team, we are passionate about the development of women in senior roles, not only across our own organisation but as a wider goal – why?
The answer is simple, because we believe that women (and men) are capable of amazing work, we just don’t shout about it enough, or have the confidence to elevate each other, and quite frankly, we don’t have enough peer support through c-suite to drive this strategy.
One of my many mantras is ‘building others up doesn’t dampen your own success” and this statement is incredibly ardent for women in business.
I was incredibly lucky, that throughout my corporate career, in a very male-dominated environment, I had tremendous backing from incredible female (and male) leaders, manages and colleagues who worked together to achieve common goals and support one another, both in the commercial role and to drive my career progression. A methodology I hope that I have carried through to my business and one that I’m passionate about continuing to push across my industry.
International Women’s Day shouldn’t be about bashing men, (although I admit, sometimes they deserve it!), or putting stoke on the fire to the ‘poor women’ topic – it should be about celebrating diversity and understanding that women do have different challenges and experiences across their careers, but the key is being aware of those and inspiring the females in your organisation to excel and rise, which is as simple as recognising this fact and putting equality at the heart of a business, in reality, it should be an easy fix… but the figures still speak for themselves.
So, instead of the traditional ‘women are great’ posts that will no doubt flood our timelines this week, let’s celebrate by recognising and appreciating the superb women we have across our businesses – shout about how and why they are great, what their achievements have been, what its meant to the business and bottom line – and why we, as business owners are better businesses culturally and financially as a result of being a diverse organisation.
MD – Brighter Directions