In February I wrote an article about the Miller-Heiman Group and their gender diversity and equality initiatives. As we all know, gender diversity is a pressing issue--in the United States and across the world--which is ironic considering that women are the top marketing opportunity in today's global economy. According to Miller-Heiman, hiring women is smart business, and I believe they're right. And not just because 85 percent of global consumers are female.
Research shows that women possess certain unique qualities that make them strong managers and even better managers than their male counterparts. "In a Gallup report based on over four decades of research, including the analysis of 27 million employees' responses, female managers outperform their male counterparts when it comes to driving employee engagement," writes Michael Schneider.
As I have said, according to research from McKinsey & Company, published in January 2018, gender diversity on executive teams is strongly correlated with profitability and value creation. But the number of women in management positions does not reflect this reality.
Today. Tomorrow? We'll see.
Women are skilled at relationship building and collaboration.
Women value relationship building and collaboration, which is essential for management. Women will often collaborate with their peers to strengthen their team, and they will work with customers to make sure they are connected and dialed into the company's products or services. It's how we are wired.
Female team leads, or managers, of matrix-led teams, who don't have authority over the individuals on their group tend to be better at developing relationships to influence engagement and productivity. They are comfortable sharing leadership responsibility so that everyone on the team feels empowered and asking for consensus within the group. This emphasis on relationship building and collaboration provide real benefits to the team and the organization as a whole.
Women listen more than men and aren't afraid to ask questions.
Women generally like to understand the whole picture; it's the way their brains work. The "tell" style many men use isn't as effective in complex, multicultural, and often virtual work environments. Women are more inclined to ask questions, listen, and react effectively. In my book, "The New Global Manager," I put forth a tool called OARTM (Observe, Ask, React.) Women are exceptionally good at these skills.
Women tend to understand the importance of listening and taking in the nuances. They excel at encouraging others, and many female managers understand the importance of maintaining a positive tone in the workplace. Both of these qualities are valuable in managing teams and more often comprised of people from diverse backgrounds and experiences.
Women in management positions tend to be hardworking and are often perfectionists.
This is a little controversial, but, some of the qualities female managers possess, while intrinsically good, can inhibit their own career advancement and that of their direct reports. Women tend to work hard and long hours, keeping their heads down. They tend to veer into perfectionism at times, which can negatively impact their careers.
Hardworking women are highly productive and get a lot done in a shorter amount of time, but modeling this behavior as a manager can be challenging to the team. They may feel they need to mimic the manager's behavior, staying late, blowing off personal commitments, and not taking time for networking and other company activities.
If you see yourself in this remember, don't bury yourself in your laptop or tablet at work. Use meetings as an opportunity to network and talk about your accomplishments. Model hardworking behavior, not perfectionism. And encourage your team to talk about their results and achievements to you and the company as a whole.
Over the next decade, the impact of women on the global economy is projected to be at least as significant as that of China and India, according to a white paper published by Ernst and Young. "Tapping into women's economic potential would be the equivalent of having an additional one billion individuals in business and in the workforce, contributing to the global economy and stimulating growth."
Wow. Those are powerful words.
Let's hope we see a corresponding increase in the number of women in management. Our global economy will only benefit from gender parity and an increase in female management and leadership.