03 Apr 2013  What Do YOU Think?

Will Women Leaders Influence the Way We Work?

Summing Up: Readers are split on Jim Heskett's question about whether men and women manage differently.

 

Summing Up

How Important is Leadership Gender in Influencing the Way We Work?

Any attempt to describe behaviors on the basis of gender runs the risk of stereotyping, generalizing, and generally oversimplifying. As Susan Chipman said in response to this month's inquiry about the impact of women leaders on work, "it is extremely naive to expect that stereotypical ideas about what women in general are like will have any meaning for the behavior of women in senior management positions. Women who arrive in such positions will be very atypical…."

The discussion stimulated by this month's question of whether or not women as leaders will have a special influence on the way we work stirred a strong feeling among respondents that the discussion is a necessary one regardless of the potential minefield that the topic represents.

Rajini McRae's comment was characteristic. "Absolutely we should be asking the question, as like it or not … our approach in leadership and problem solving are different." Respondents were pretty well split down the middle on the question, although there was apparently little doubt in Judy B's mind. "Of course we will…. Now can we move on to the next (question) … already???"

Others were split on whether the gender of the leader matters. And there didn't appear to be a discernable difference in the opinions of men and women among the thoughtful responses.

Clara Tenby commented that "The main difference I feel between men and women in the work place is that generally we have more patience and a 'nicer' way of putting things-good or bad!" Kapil Sopory added that "women display better … problem solving skill and organizational loyalty than men. They are generally as balanced as men emotionally." Jo Lager agreed but felt that the lines are not finely drawn. As she put it: "Men and women are variations on a theme, not opposites…. It is possible, and I think likely, that the male-dominated business world selects as leaders women who demonstrate traits that are closer to the masculine norm."

Cheri Thomas objected to such generalizations and stereotyping, saying that "Typifying women as 'more sensitive' and 'consensus building' sets up expectations that don't fit women in leadership roles…. In all cases, to be fair and accurate, you have to look at the person, not the generalization." And John Croft felt that "the idea of different leadership styles among men and women is poorly thought through…. People forget that leadership is about the people being led, not the leader…. I think you would only find sex-based leadership differences when those being led are all men or all women."

Marlis Krichewsky presented an interesting hypothesis when she classified male and female managers in three groups: those who conform to the gender role model, those who imitate the role model of the other gender, and those who are "'integral human beings' profoundly accepting and developing their double nature: male-female. Only the third group of people are 'good' leaders with complex thinking, agility and sensitivity."

It prompts the question: How important is leadership gender in influencing the way we work? What do you think?

Original Article

Harvard Business School is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the admission of women into its MBA program. A few have made it into CEO positions at major corporations. More have founded and lead their own start-ups. They're coming along, in spite of the much talked about obstacles and high attrition rates along the road.

One of them, Sheryl Sandberg (COO) has written a book, Lean In, about which everyone seems to have an opinion. It coincides with the actions of Marissa Mayer to discourage telecommuting at Yahoo!, where she recently became CEO. The intent here is not to replow the argument about whether these two outstanding executives represent the best or worst of feminism. It is to speculate on the influence that a future populated by female leadership in a significant number of organizations will have on the way we work.

A number of arguments have been made that women in leadership exhibit different decision-making behaviors than men. They are, for example, said to be more willing to examine several sides of an issue before acting, more sensitive to the needs of others, and more inclusive and transparent in their communication of information. Unfortunately, there is no substantial empirical evidence for this, in part because the sample size is so small.

Several have argued that if we are to tap the potential of people with a variety of backgrounds and demands on their time, we need to rethink work. Among other things, the argument maintains that work needs to be chunked out in tasks that can be pursued on a part-time basis with a workload designed accordingly and an emphasis on the quality vs. the quantity of work accomplished.

 

Women's 50th

Events

Women's 50th

This article is part of a continuing series on faculty research and teaching commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first women to enter Harvard Business School's two-year MBA program.

 

More important, those climbing the ladder in this manner must not be penalized for doing it this way. The point is that organizations will, as a result, be just as productive and also able to choose leadership from a much broader pool of talent, one presumably containing more women (or men) with multiple commitments. The implication is that women in leadership will be more likely than men to rethink work in this fashion.

Sandberg's advice largely assumes that work will not be rethought. Instead, women will have to "lean in" and face the long hours and judgments regarding the quantity of work as well as the quality of work they are able to do. If a family is in the picture, it may require a devoted and supporting spouse willing to share household responsibilities.

Mayer's action similarly relegates the age-old debate about work-life balance to the back burner, commanding her legions to prepare to abandon their far-flung work spaces and return to Yahoo! offices for important collaboration essential to innovation.

What this minute sample perhaps suggests is that we should be careful about jumping to conclusions about the effects of female leadership on work life.

Assume that we are slowly progressing toward a tipping point at which sitting female CEOs will pave the way for other women, just as their male counterparts have done for men. The result may be an accelerating pace toward a critical mass of top jobs occupied by women, encouraging aspirants (with or without MBAs) in their efforts to build similar careers. As employees of these organizations, will we notice a difference? How will female leadership influence the way we work? Should I even be asking the question? What do you think?

To learn more

Sheryl Sandberg with Nell Scovell, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013)

Comments

    • Rajini McRae
    • CFO, Tiercon Corp.

    Absolutely we should be asking the question, as like it or not, men and women are biologically different and as such our APPROACH in leadership and problem solving are different and this will have an impact to the performance of the organization and ultimately the GDP of our countries. Our assessments (men or women)to problems and issues will be on most accounts the same, given this should be based on facts. However, the question will be how will a woman's approach enrich the overall organizations performance. Will employees be more or less motivated, will there be more or less clarity in direction to employees, more or less recognition, more or less collaboration, etc...key factors that contribute to leading organizations to achieve performance / results.

     
     
     
    • Jo Lager
    • Assoc VP, Sanofi

    I think one important thing to keep in mind when we discuss differences between women and men is that women and men are variations on a theme, not opposites. While the central tendency for a given trait may differ between men and women, if you plot individual men and women, there is substantial overlap between the two groups. It is possible, and I think likely, that the male-dominated business world selects as leaders women who demonstrate traits that are closer to the masculine norm. This may be why it is not apparent that the women who have acheived positions of power have substantially different leadership styles. This may change as we reach the "tipping point" described in the article and start seeing more women in leadership whose traits arediverge more from the masculine norm.

     
     
     
    • Aim
    • Drilling Engineer, N/A

    One dimension, a critical one I would say, of a country is made up of societies. A society is made up of families. A family is a union of male and a female. Each has to bear a duty in a house because a family appraisal is a heavy responsibility (unlike animals who live only in the programmed present without the pain of understanding the past/future,). Male's primary duty is to provide food and shelter, for which his physical and psychological existence is well suited. Female's primary duty is to protect that shelter and look after the offspring, again making her psyche and physical capabilities ideal for this role. This is the human world I came to understand by looking at a variety of cultures around the world and I am very well aware of controversy such statements cause in U.S. or Western society at large. And since my observations above are valid for 6 billion people (mostly non-western/non-developed world) out of 7 billion peop le currently residing on earth I will pose my question according to majority, just to be statistically correct: This article is so intensely focused on seeing a woman succeed at a career without any form of measurement the impact of a career success on the family: protection of shelter bringing up the offspring. Do we not need to rethink definition of success of an individual male and female and take the family as a whole into the workplace and measure the collective effort? That way both the male and female will have common goals as well as protect each other and perhaps pass on their wisdom in action to their offspring...but hey, who am I kidding, in the U.S. the society is too broke to understand this statement!

    Best, Aim

     
     
     
    • Alick Mutamangira
    • Bank Manager

    Women are generally more focused and hardworking and their levels of dishonesty and misconduct seem to be very low compared to male counterparts,probably because women are less smart in thinking tricks and experiential innovation for discovery or invention.

    Flexibility will make women leadership prevail while man may remain very rigid and tough as is their masculine nature.

    Women may still remain challenged by their dependence on men's chivalry,so those who make it to the top remain painstakingly low unless granted through a quota system which may be detrimental.

    Women should proceed as competitive partners and not assume the rise of the previously marginalised otherwise the noble intentions will be retrogressive.

     
     
     
    • Marlis Krichewsky
    • researcher in educational sciences, CIRPP

    I don't have statistics, just experience (as a woman, mainly in France). For my own use I classify male end female managers in three groups:
    1. those who conform exclusively to their gender role model 2. those who imitate the role model of the other gender, rejecting their own 3. those who are "integral human beings" profoundly accepting and developing their double nature: male-female Only the third group of people are "good" leaders with complex thinking, agility and sensitivity. Perhaps they will help us shift from shareholder to stakeholder capitalism.

     
     
     
    • Kapil Sopory
    • Company Secretary, SMEC(India) Private Limited

    Physical differences aside, women display better performance, problem solving skill and organisational loyalty than men. They are generally as balanced as men
    emotionally. Problems arise, however, firstly after marriage and then at their pregnancy stage (when they require to be away from workplace). A few companies do provide work-from-home arrangements so that there is little break in official duties but this arrangement is not conducive when one reaches higher levels such as a CEO. Hence, women need to settle their family requirements in such a way that they can devote full time at such stages. In my view the percentage of women employees leaves lot of scope for upward improvement and there needs to be genuine effort in this direction.

     
     
     
    • Desray Clark
    • CEO, Abellard

    Absolutely we should be asking the question, it is of course underpinned by the more fundamental question of women's leadership identity?, do women identify themselves as leaders and shapers of organisation's or is the dominant sentiment that the world of work is mainly a male domain that women are trying to navigate. In the work I do I find that the latter is still very much in evidence, would value comments

     
     
     
    • John Croft
    • Sr. Technical Manager, Turner Broadcasting

    I think the idea of different leadership styles among men and women is poorly thought through. While women have been fewer in number in top positions through history, there have been enough that we should be able see a pattern if there was one. Were Elizabeth and Victoria fundamentally different in leadership quality from Henry or George in a manner that could be attributed to sex? People forget that leadership is about the people being led, not the leader. People noted for their leadership are bound together about what they believe all the people they are leading are or should be motivated by. Steve Jobs believed all people wanted and deserved great products from the early Apples to the iPhone and iPad. Warren Buffett believes every manager should work most fundamentally for the long term value of the business they are running. I think you would only find sex-based leadership differences when those being led are all men or all women, and then I bet you find that both male and female leaders would have different styles for each group.

     
     
     
    • Hugh Quick
    • Home, None

    An international company that I worked for sent young US employees to my section because they thought that I knew more about the USA. I suppose thatI did, relatively. Anyway at some big bosses social do one of the big bosses asked a young US employee from my section how he would react if he found himself working for a black man who was less competent than him. His reply was,"I am used to working for people who are less competent than me, I don't care what colour or sex they are." I had a quiet chuckle because I thought that the big boss got just what he deserved.

     
     
     
    • Susan Chipman
    • Retired

    As one of the earlier women Harvard MBAs (1967), I would like to comment that it is extremely naive to expect that stereotypical ideas about what women in general are like will have any meaning for the behavior of women in senior management positions. Women who arrive in such positions will be very atypical. I spent most of my career as a research manager in an extremely male-dominated organization, the US Office of Naval Research. I am reminded of my boss complaining about diversity training he was required to undergo, where unfortunately he was taught a lot of stereotypical ideas about women. He complained that none of the women he knew at ONR were anything like that! No wonder. These were women with PhDs in scientific or engineering fields who furthermore were willing to work, had survived working in a very male dominated organization. Informally or not, they had been highly selected by the time they arrived in those positions. One of the many topics I researched during my career was the determinants of career selection in mathematical, scientific and engineering fields. As an example of these selection processes and their effects, women in engineering are even more like prototypical engineers than men in engineering are -- and engineers differ greatly from typical women in their interest patterns. To put it crudely, engineers are more interested in things than in people, whereas women are typically much more interested in people than in things.

     
     
     
    • Phil Clark
    • Clark & Associates

    After 50 years in the workforce my I suggest we not be dupped into thinking that we (male or female) have the power to really change the world of work. A few make some inroads, but as long as we let the gods of work and money rule business and culture...it really is just flailing at windmills. I deem it very sad that real change can't happen.

    Hopefully, we can agree that men and women are different...it seems after that everything else is up for grabs.

    I find it ironic that the very survival of our species and culture, children and the time women spend having and raising them...is treated more as a problem in business that a blessing. And...heaven help the man who wants to spend time with his family. In some, no most, businesses that is held against fathers. What a screwed up sense of values.

    My last three bosses were women. All great. Unfortunately, for their efforts and development of excellent teams they were undermined by the company and eventually moved on. Their success and innovation to achieve that success was not embraced by the "corporate culture". What was really ironic. After these women left, the company did not do as well financially...but leadership was happy they were gone. They blamed the change on "outside" influences.

    It is a sad comentary on modern "enightened" business leadership.

     
     
     
    • Philippe Gouamba
    • Vice President of Human Resources, Skyline Windows, LLC

    As employees of organizations led by women we will not notice a great difference. Female leadership will not influence the way we work. Yes, Professor, you may ask the question but be prepared for a "null" answer.

    Business is a process with a start-up phase, stability and growth phase and demise. Nothing lasts forever. A business has a life cycle in which it serves two main objectives: provide a product that is better than the competition and make money for its investors. If 50% of this Nation's businesses were led by women, the raison d'etre of a business will not change if that business is led by a woman or not. A female CEO will not influence the market from behind her desk; she will face the same clients, suppliers, bankers, investors that her male counterparts face. She will be under the very same pressure to perform, to grow the business and to show a bottom line profit.

    As a Human Resources professional, I am committed to the ideal that the most qualified person for a position should be in that position, regardless of the sex of the individual. I am glad that there are now a growing number of women that are qualified to lead major organizations. That is a testimony to the fact that many women are putting in the same hard work that men have put in; it is a testimony to the fact that more and more boards are recognizing the talent that many women possess. It is a further recognition of the fact that if my business needs to make money, it does not much matter if it is a male or a female that keeps my business solvent or that fattens my bottom line.

     
     
     
    • Ravindra Edirisooriya
    • Analyst and Consultant, Edirisooriya Business and Management Services

    "Will Women Leaders Influence the Way We Work?" asked Professor Heskett. Work may be defined as what and how leaders and followers do in an organization (assume doing business to maximize profit). Work specifications are designed to achieve the organizational goals and they need not be based on the gender of the worker. If work specifications can accommodate gender specific needs of the workers without compromising organizational goals, it will add to the work-life balance of the workers and act as a morale booster. Workers' life needs are asymmetric between men and women mainly because men cannot naturally bear children. (One argument for legalized abortion is based on equating the life needs of men and women workers. Is it possible? Is it right or is it wrong?) With modern communication, business and management technology, a Woman Leader is more likely (than a Man Leader) to redesign work specifications to accommodate workers' (mostly women's but men's too) life n eeds IF the organizational goals are achievable. Are the Women Leaders willing to take a bigger chance (than Men Leaders) in achieving organizational goals with redesigned work specifications to accommodate workers' life needs? Ms. Sandberg and Ms. Mayer did not take a bigger chance. With time (how long?) either the fundamental organizational goal of maximizing profit will change to a more socially equitable organizational goal which accommodates the gender differential needs of its work force or the advancements in technology will solve the problem. As contemporary employees of these organizations, we will not see a difference. Female leadership will not influence the way we work anymore than the male leadership unless one brave (take an extra ordinary chance) woman (more likely) would "Break the Mold", but many women may fail before one succeeds.

    Wrong Assumptions and One A-BOMB will PERISH (tip) The EARTH no matter where on earth it happens to be Detonated. Not Military Power but DIPLOMACY is The ONLY WAY OUT.

     
     
     
    • Tom Dolembo
    • Founder, New North Institute

    After 20 years of working with women's businesses, I have seen a tremendous change in style and approach by women owner/entrepreneurs. Although women still appear infrequently in the power lists, the network of women moving into business has become a major factor pressing against male individualism. Years ago a football mentality and incipient frathouse alchoholism dominated business relationships. Women have since moved into purchasing and HR, have extended skills to an impressive degree in middle management positions, and men have not only ceded positions but have changed behaviors to be able to sell and be paid. Women owner/executives, many of whom have expressly stated that they would hire a man if they could find one who was qualified, seem to be in a more commanding role overall, dealing in many cases woman to woman rather than woman to man. The entire business culture has been changing, not fast enough perhaps, but with a pe rsistence. I would say that in general woman manage through relationships, are empowered by their networking skills, and are proven in engineering and manufacturing where previously they were not taken seriously. Men find this frustrating, and many who are trying to re-enter the executive level work force simply do not have an idea of what a woman is looking for, and now they must. It may be just me, but woman value exchange of information highly, trust is implicit, offer up a baffling ability to communicate at multiple levels simultaneously, and simply do not begin with confrontation as a decision starter as men tend to do. A woman will also not feel threatened if she expresses a feeling a man would never utter. Women can, however, be remarkably vicious, "never smile at this crocodile" a client once suggested, and she was serious, and at the same time charming. My warning to men is to venture carefully and wisely into these waters, I do not believe these woman pla y with their meals very long.

     
     
     
    • Clara Tenby
    • Owner/Director, Europarts Autos

    I run my own company and work in a predominately male environment although I do have several female employees, a couple in particular are earmarked for promotion. I do not tolerate time off by men or women without very good cause and will take no second best from anyone, but I also believe in rewarding hard work and loyalty. My inspiration comes from a lady who owns/runs a still family owned business, Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler of the Schaeffler Group, with some 76,000 employees worldwide. A truely amazing women now in her 71st year who actively employs women in senior positions whenever possible, such as at the recent expansion of their factory in Hungary.

    The main difference I feel between men and women in the work place is that generaly we have more patience and a ' nicer ' way of putting things - good or bad !

     
     
     
    • Cheri Thomas
    • Consultant

    When you are talking about top performers, using generalizations drawn from the "average" behaviors or attitudes of the whole population seem at best irrelevant, and at worst stereotyping. Typifying women as "more sensitive" and "consensus building" sets up expectations that don't fit all women in leadership roles. For example, these stereotypes might preclude considering women for turnaround situations, where "sensitivity" and "consensus building" would be out of place. In all cases, to be fair and accurate, you have to look at the person, not the generalization.

     
     
     
    • Judy B.
    • Faculty, Columbia

    Of course we will....Now can we move on to the next one already??????

     
     
     
    • Jeff Schur
    • CEO, Armory New York

    I think the question is fitting for the age we live in but also the death of Margaret Thatcher this week.

    Was she a great leader because she was a woman?

    She herself says no. She had one of the few cabinets in British Politics with not one woman. She chose on merit.

    In the advertising industry I work in, some of the greatest talent, despite the prejudice that existed during the Mad Men years. Founders like Mary Wells and CEOs like Charlotte Beers and Shelley Lazarus have been particularly effective leaders.

    In many years Omnicom University, with a HGBS faculty chaired by Jim Heskett, I did not notice any difference between the styles and effectiveness of women leaders from around the world.

    I believe the statistics now show higher graduation rates for women over men so there will be more of them in leadership positions. Men of a certain age who are fortunately leaving the workforce are being replaced by executives who are more color blind, less prejudiced and socially fair-minded than their predecessors.

    So as more barriers are stripped away, a more natural order of things will prevail. And in that environment, women executives will have more impact because there will be more of them able to lead on an unrestricted basis.

    So they will influence the way we work by gradually ensuring that the future will be a meritocracy.

    I do not believe for minute that gender will play a role in whether people telecommute or daycare benefits become more common. But I think gender fairness will ensure that more fair-minded questions are addressed at the top level as they challenge long held status quo habits which historically have been set by men who were in the arithmetic majority which is no longer the case.

     
     
     
    • Marwan
    • Accountant

    Females are most definitely influencing the way we work, the question should be, in what way and towards what?

     
     
     
    • Yadeed Lobo

    I think the fundamental qualities of any great leader in business can be summarized in the words of Kipling: Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch.

    Or to put it in Jim Collins jargon : professional resolve and personal humility. My two cents is compassion.

    Some tech behemoths' boards already seem to have recognized these enduring characteristics in their 21st century leaders.

    Ursula Burns at Xerox, Virginia Rometty at IBM are just a few examples. A HBS MBA is also currently trying to transform that legend of Silicon Valley, Hewlett Packard and re-ignite its innovative prowess.

    An earlier generation of FMCG companies boards' had recognised these characteristics in their future leaders. Irene Rosenfeld and Indra Nooyi are examples of such leaders.

    Maybe the thinking change has to start in the boardroom(at the top). Norway provides a good illustrative example. Then we will see the explicit permission to trickle down/acceptance of such changes into lower levels of organizations.That's when a representative sample will become available for further analysis and comment.

     
     
     
    • Michael Koscec
    • President & CEO, Entec Corporation & EmployeeSurveyToolkit.com

    I think that the pressures of work will define leadership, regardless of gender. In a sense Marissa Mayer is also leaning-in. She really doesn't have a choice. She is faced with a burning platform and must bring about appropriate change to the best of her abilities. Her work pressure is driving her decisions. Work pressure is gender neutral. It doesn't discriminate.

     
     
     
    • Stephanie Hurt
    • associate professor, Meredith college Raleigh NC

    I come from Europe and work for a 'women's' college. When I was hired almost ten years ago, I was surprised by my dean's to be question: will you be OK teaching women?

    My answer was I teach above the neck! Thus have taught both men and women and have never had to ask myself that specific question.

    It is interesting that the country which has been the first to introduce laws to encourage female balance on the work force by introducing quotas for women and other minorities ( a sign of discrimination?) keeps emphasizing and publishing discriminatory articles. Isn't that a self fulfilling prophesy? Shouldn't all professionals be all treated the same way whether they are men or women in a country that does not grant ,as it is the case in Europe, distinctive benefits to women when they have given birth to a child? What is the reason for discrimination in the country of Darwin?

     
     
     
    • Hugh Quick
    • Home, None

    My parents always made it clear to me that at least half the humans on the planet were women, they are different from men (Thank goodness) but I don't see why they shouldn't have the same freedom of choice.

     
     
     
    • Christina Hill
    • Operations Manager

    I am living in Germany and belong to a relatively small group of women here who are combining full time work and family. I think focusing on part time opportunities and alternative career paths is good, but by far not the only (or not the biggest) lever. If we learn to properly judge performance and potential and to promote people based on these two factors, we might not even need to talk about different career paths or flexible working arrangement. As long as "fitting" in the cultures, systems and structures dominate the career progression decisions, we will not have many women at the top and will not see any change in leadership style. Those organizations which manage to diverge from existing paradigm will see more women coming to the top and different leadership culture.

    I belive however that the cause-effect relationship will probably be the opposite: a different leadership culture will support more inclusive environment and as consequence will lead to increased number of women. Not vise versa.

     
     
     
    • MarieS
    • VP - Consulting Services, renewable energy consulting firm

    My journey has been similar to thousands of other women's. As a chemical engineer with an MBA, my life challenges and opportunities reflect that of many. The transition to a working mother has been similar to many. And while I recognize my experience is not unique, it is not without it's challenges.

    I've gone through cycles of being one of the boys (and not fitting), rejection of my femininity (no breakaway colors/patterns)

    Will employees notice a difference? : Maybe. It may depend more on the perspective of the teams under female leadership and what they expect. Generational differences certainly apply.

    How will female leadership influence the way we work? I struggle with this question and why it is still an issue. That noted, I think it will benefit the overall experience and ultimately improve employee retention. Women tend to be more empathetic and focused on a balance of business performance and the employee experience - which at times maybe perceived as too soft - which I don't get....retention and growth save a huge amount of onboarding/replacement costs...

    Should I even be asking the question? What do you think? The question needs to be asked since it is still and issue. Women still tend to make less than their counterparts, retention of women and the perceptions are perpetual (i.e., will she work after she has her baby(ies)...).

    That the gender balance of this topic wasn't addressed in the introduction is frustrating. Our family functions well with two working parents, balancing significant positions in our company, soccer, swimming and dinner at 6pm every night. For me, my husband's commitment to our family, which equals mine, is a huge contributor our combined ability to succeed.

    Work/Life balance is not about true balance - it is about a solution that works for individuals and families - that will not fit into any traditional mold. Every working woman, mother or not, will be addressed with this directly or indirectly (working with working parents) and fold this into her toolbox of

     
     
     
    • Peter Lee
    • Mg Consultant, Remuneration Data Specialists Pte Ltd

    Hope women leaders will take on the "messy" task of building trust and collaboration throughout the organisation. They have the insights, sensitivity & wisdom to do so. While men also have the wisdom, most of them prefer going for short-term and more tangible targets (macho syndrome?).

    At the end of the day, the overall result being improved productivity, innovation and creativity, many forms of work flexibility will be made possible to suit workers with varying needs.

     
     
     
    • Venys Prestidge
    • Management Consultant

    I believe in balance among multiple dimensions. Organizations that consistently seek & hire the same type of candidate will limit their ability to leverage the innovation & creative problem solving capabilities that stem from a diverse workforce. We have seen how cultures contribute to grooming behaviors and thought patterns differently across genders and generational boundaries.

    I have a strong bias that the strongest of organizations have a wide variety of "deep thinkers" and "quick do-ers", of those who are highly collaborative, or highly autocratic, and of those who are compassionate or quick to judge, those with youthful exuberance, and those with seasoned experience. Similarly, the balance of male and female employees contributes to a stronger organization. Anyone who has worked in a primarily male or primarily female organization can attest that overuse of gender-based strengths can be a weakness that limits the overall health of the company and its culture. The most resilient, enduring, and healthy organizations will leverage these diversities and undoubtedly have a competitive advantage.

     
     
     
    • Ashok Malik
    • Consultant

    We are asking the question suggests that women do have an impact on the organzation they are part of or heading or should we call leading? I think generalising may not be the best answer. Like we say, a good manager or organisation is one which can exploit each individuals best talent. So, women are likely to naturally perform better at Healthcare Services, NGO's, Finance Services, Art Industry, Architecture and designing ... as compared to Soccer club CEO, Sales and Marketing organisation, Technology Innovation, Reatil Chain Business etc. Reasons are obvious, women are comparatively more compassionate, less adventurous with money, more conscious about their and loved ones well being and reputation. Since women naturally love dressing thus has an eye for detail in colors and contrast etc. Women I feel do not like to think too much out of the box a must for marketing and innovation and do not like to think too big being by nature more practical and realistic and for Reatil business you need to think real big. Thus it is for the organisation and women themselves to decide where can they be best fit, fit they must.