The impact of women in senior management
EMPLOYMENT Equity requires companies to bring about change in leadership, particularly at the higher levels of management where male dominance continues.
Recent research by various organisations shows that women leaders tend to have significantly happier and more highly engaged teams. Companies with women on their boards outperform those without and diverse teams outperform non-diverse teams.
That being the case, why are companies reluctant to change and bring more women on board in leadership roles?
While the statistics are not what they should be, doors are opening. However, more can be done. Role model women leaders and managers are all helping us redefine the role of women in some instances, but in others there is still the male domination attitude.
Despite some slow progress in South Africa, there is still a great deal of work to do. When I deal with HR professionals, the majority is women.
That tells me something. I am continually impressed by the leadership I see and the role these women play in companies. What I am concerned about is why these women are not considered to be part of the senior management team? Why do some of them go no further than dead-end jobs? Is gender a part of the problem?
“In 2012, the Harvard Business Review published evaluations of the competency model for leadership development, created by Zenger Folkman, which showed that women possess more qualities that fit a leader personality. The Folkman competency model essentially revealed that women scored higher than men in demonstrating empathy and ability to influence, as well as in conflict management. Women are even more ahead in terms of self-awareness and self-development. Women are among the most talented and respected leaders in the organisations and women at the second or third level from the top in an organisation are more impressive than their male peers.”
The dynamics of today’s business environment has changed, but more needs to change and we need to allow more women business leaders to play a better and bigger role. We need to bring about change and rapid transformation to close the gender gap.
Women, when given a fair chance to lead, are in many instances better than men.
In order to tackle the gender gap, women need to be permitted to take on personal responsibilities for tackling issues concerning gender equality, poverty eradication, children and education.
To lead and take on such a responsibility, they have to be capable of holding positions of power and influence in the business world.
They cannot do so if they are not given a fair chance to prove themselves.
What can we do to address this issue?
What can men do to help? What needs to change?
What are your thoughts, generally, on women in senior positions?
Des Squire is a managing member at AMSI and Associates. Email: [email protected]