Countless women are knocking it out of the park when it comes to running businesses. From Indra Nooyi at PepsiCo to Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook, a path has been set for females to occupy top positions at global corporations. While there are still fewer ladies in the top ranks, the gender gap is closing. The power of a woman CEO, CXO, CFO, and COO is not something to gloss over.
We bring so many great qualities to the table, from motivating the workforce to encouraging better communication skills and upgrading the organization. All of which points to giving women the opportunity to operate at the highest decision-making levels in an organization.
5 ways a woman CEO can benefit a business:
1. Focus on research and development
In recent years, the success of an organization has been dependent on how they are able to create products and services that appeal the most to consumers. In this regard, the role of research and development (R&D) has been of paramount importance.
When women CEOs put stress and emphasis on the R&D process, they can take the organization far because it is forward-thinking and meeting changing customers’ needs. Thinking through the entire process matters, rather than putting energy into half-baked thoughts and ideas that do not culminate into a quality end product or service.
2. Strong communication and engagement
When women CEOs have strong communication skills, they can engage well with employees, stakeholders, and the public. The result can be a more streamlined organization and work culture.
There are strong reasons why a communication skills training course to upgrade yourself can help you attain the finesse and expertise of a leader. Communication is the foundation on which a successful corporate thrives and delivers at all times.
3. Motivated and driven workforce and employees
According to Dr. Farida Akhtar at the Macquarie Business School, women CEOs are often highly empathetic towards the needs of their employees. That helps employees be loyal towards the organization and give it their all, day in and day out.
The creation of a strong and eager workforce capable of putting in their 100 percent at all times leads to organizational success. When employees believe in those who are in leadership roles and the direction that the organization is taking, they work hard and improve the company’s productivity.
4. A great blend of toughness and flexibility
With so many challenges for women business leaders, it’s clear that females need to have tough skin to get to the top. To succeed, we need to understand the problems and issues to help others and ourselves too. That helps us achieve a great balance of being tough when required and allowing for flexibility at the right time.
When it comes to facing challenges or troubleshooting problems, this blend brings out the best in a woman CEO. Knowing exactly when to apply the pressure and when to give some leeway can take leaders far, no matter their gender.
5. Transparency in operations
A crucial factor in a business’ success that Dr. Farida Akhtar points out is the transparency of company financials by the CEO. Investors look for this quality, as do employees.
When everyone knows what is happening according to their positions within the organization, there is a basis for trust. That is what all leaders must look to establish, whether they are female or not. Then there is less internal corporate politics, with more focus on open communication.
Major obstacles preventing organizations from having a female CEO
If you look at the proportion of women CEOs leading billion-dollar businesses, you will be able to count them on your fingers. The question that then needs to be asked is, why is that?
According to Dr. Akhtar, some of the major things preventing this from happening are:
- A traditional mindset, beliefs, and conservative attitude toward women in powerful roles
- Institutional investors, who have a major voice, prefer males in top positions
- Not viewing women as big risk-takers, a characteristic that shareholders and investors might prefer in a CEO
At the end of the day, women CEOs need to be superheroes. In other words, the expectations of success and performance of this female go beyond what is realistic. That is an enormous obstacle when it comes to women occupying top leadership roles in the business sector.
Why more companies need to embrace a woman CEO
Certain characteristics emerge in research among female leaders again and again. Among those competencies are courage, resiliency, and flexibility. They are also more likely to encourage team dynamics.
Studies have also shown that women generally are better listeners. One team studied 23 years of research on the brains of people of a range of ages and found female brains were more prominent in specific areas than men, including the part linked to the ability to listen. The differences between the brains of the sexes are intriguing.
Being a good listener is an important quality in a leader. It allows this individual to be a part of the ideation process, take all views into account, and consider what should be best for the organization going forward.
Research also shows that while genders do not have a significant difference in emotional intelligence scores, they do often differ in emotional self-awareness, empathy, and interpersonal relationships. Women typically score higher than men on these attributes.
Emotional intelligence helps leaders create and encourage teams, as well as being comfortable strengthening relationships and more. Being strong in the trait of empathy means that you’re able to assess the situations and feelings of others well and process how to best respond to a situation.
Finally, it’s important to respect the differences of others and bring a range of skills to the business room that comes with having different genders and backgrounds in an organization. More females on the board mean having more viewpoints and a wider range of talents, all of which help a company propel forward.
A few final words
There is no doubt that most women have to travel harder and longer to reach the position of a CEO than men. As earlier stated, women often have to be superheroes to reach the pinnacle of the corporate ladder.
But progress is being made and it’s important to acknowledge it. Women are taking positions of CEOS, CXOs, COOs, and CFOs. And it’s inspiring to watch!