Behind every great man is a woman, right?
Well, how about the simple fact that women are great business leaders?
In other words, when you let women be women in the business world, they do better. That’s according to a recent report from the Harvard Business Review, which makes the case that traditional thinking – that women should be treated no differently than men in corporate settings – is simply flawed and regressive.
The report says only about 20 percent of businesswomen make partner. By expecting from women what you would expect from men, the corporate world is consciously and unconsciously excluding female leadership. That’s not a good thing, according to many. Kevin O'Leary of “Shark Tank” fame says of his 27 companies, only the ones with female CEOs make him money.
“Women are good for business, so it follows that what’s good for your best women will be good for your bottom line,” says Debora McLaughlin, CEO of The Renegade Leader Coaching and Consulting Group, and author of “Running in High Heels: How to Lead with Influence, Impact & Ingenuity.”
“I’ve long advocated this position, and that symbols of female business identity, like high heels, are signs of a businesswoman’s ability to elevate business results, consistently providing a better return for stakeholders,” McLaughlin says.
McLaughlin offers why women will be essential for leading businesses into a new paradigm this century. So whether you are a Realtor or a teacher, here are some quick factoids:
• The old way doesn’t work. Since 1955, more than 90 percent of the companies on the Fortune 500 list have gone bankrupt, shrunk in size, become inconsequential, been mopped up by their rivals or closed their doors. Sixty percent of CEOs think their current business model is only sustainable for another three years. Sticking too closely to your old guns, including discouraging a woman’s nature in the corporate world, will likely involve your company in that 90-plus percent failure rate, McLaughlin says.
• The business world has already changed. While technology continues to revolutionize how we do business, it has also changed the workforce. Today’s employees are smarter, more innovative, more creative and full of potential – and it’s not only due to technology. As Generations X and Y emerge as tomorrow’s leaders, Millennials are proving to be very resourceful workers. Old models like “command-and-control” don’t fit with a company’s most precious resource, its people, McLaughlin says.
• Women are more social and excel in collaboration. We shouldn’t generalize to strictly regarding gender norms. However, it’s probably fair to say women are more nurturing for in-group members. Much of the traditional management method centralized authority; a woman’s leadership is more prone to sharing influence and, perhaps, fostering a creative culture of collaboration, McLaughlin says.
“Of course, this is not a strict gender rule,” McLaughlin says. “But I think it’s the experience of many that women are, in the aggregate, more nurturing.