In recognition of National Women’s Small Business month, we share five of our favorite reasons why women make great leaders.
Our history tells a story where women did not have the same fundamental rights as men. Unfortunately, many women today find themselves fighting the same gender battles as their mothers and aunts before them. Equal pay, equal career opportunities, and proportionate representation throughout company management are all obstacles that, while improving, still fall short of the decades-long goal of true equality. As the culture continues to rethink unfair assumptions about women in leadership, here are five ways that women actually make great leaders:
1. Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Women tend to view work more holistically than men, viewing their careers as a part of their overall life goals, rather than a goal in and of itself. As a result, women are better poised to properly balance both their work and personal lives in a healthier and more fulfilling way. This has the added benefit of trickling down to other employees, as women leaders also tend to be more understanding of the work-life balance of others, making them more approachable for questions and concerns.
2. Effectively Wearing Many Hats
Women are often balancing several areas of their life on a constant basis, managing their household, children, aging parents, and their careers. This means women have great practice in finding solutions to different types of issues that demand their attention, without getting stuck or isolated with one area of responsibility over another. This ability to switch gears, adjust, and refocus is a valuable skill for leaders, particularly when overseeing several groups or departments.
3. Communicating More Constructively
There are many studies that conclude that women are wired to be effective communicators. In fact, it is widely considered their strongest skill. A combination of emotional intelligence, interpersonal skills, and empathy allow women to leverage communication in deeper and more impactful ways. Female leaders have long used this skill in building relationships with co-workers, employees, partners and clients. Strong communication not only makes women more approachable but helps leaders execute plans and delegate responsibilities with greater clarity.
4. Leading by Example
Women generally don’t inherit executive positions in the same way that men can in some cases. Instead, it is far more common for women to climb up the corporate ladder to reach positions of leadership and influence. This means that, beforehand, they end up with experience in several of the various roles along the way. This experience is key in leadership, as it enables women to lead employees at those differing levels with personal examples to draw from.
“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.”
Women who have successfully climbed the ladder have also carried with them both a personal and a collective history of overcoming obstacles unique to being a woman. There is a natural desire, then, to be a role model for future generations of women to do the same.
5. Overcoming the Odds
Women make great leaders, if nothing else, precisely because of what it has required of them to become leaders in the first place. When the odds are against them to lead, and when so many obstacles stand in their way, a woman who has acquired a position of leadership will inevitably emerge stronger and more capable than they would otherwise. Such an accomplished and self-willed individual perfectly encapsulates what makes for a good leader.
As the many talented and skilled professional leaders currently representing women in the workplace continue to demonstrate a proper perception of the value and benefits of having female leaders, we can hope that the daughters and nieces of this generation won’t have to fight the same battles of inequality. MindSpring Metro DC is committed to empowering women by offering a series of programs that create a culture of excellence for all women.