Women in leadership roles have just as much — if not more — to offer a company as their male counterparts. Despite an equal aptitude for overseeing teams and organizations, however, only 23 of the top 500 companies in the United States had female CEOs in 2015.
The difference lies in perception. Men tend to see running a company in purely financial terms, with a focus on making the most money while sacrificing other aspects of their lives. However, women in leadership positions tend to see their careers as a valuable part of their life experiences.
According to CMO Emily He of DoubleDutch, women want more out of their careers, including integrating life and work, connecting with people, finding a life's purpose, and creating meaning for employees. As such, women make fantastic business leaders because they understand work means more than just financial gain.
A 2015 survey by Saba shows women value leaders who connect with the team and participate in business. This explains why women in leadership situations exhibit characteristics men may lack, so some of these traits set women apart in the business world. Business News Daily interviewed several female business leaders and discovered these reasons why women make great leaders.
Women can create a work-life balance better than men because women balance personal and professional leadership qualities. Women in leadership know how to prioritize what's important, whether someone makes a personal request to take care of family duties or needs time off to promote better well-being.
Instead of reacting to a situation, women may listen to all sides of an issue before forming an opinion and taking action. This often leads to better decision making that provides more value to the company and its employees. This skill comes in handy during crisis situations that need compassion or patience versus snap judgments.
Communication skills complement listening. Clear communication means better clarity while executing plans, achieving goals and completing projects. All these facets of communication make the company better as a whole.
Women in leadership know how to multitask. Part of this skill comes from balancing home life among children, parents, spouses and friends. The ability to shift from one role to another without missing a beat proves vital to someone who must deal with several departments, many employees and multiple issues affecting a company on a daily basis.
Several books and studies tout the value of emotional intelligence, or EQ, as a valid leadership skill. Women may know how to bring out the best in people by taking the time to learn what makes employees tick rather than pushing for a bigger return on investment from employees.
All these leadership qualities make for great mentors. Women need someone to look up to and guide them in the business world, especially since 60 percent of men and only 49 percent of women expect companies to take an active role in their career aspirations. This perception must change, and women can lead the charge as they change the contemporary workplace.
Women in leadership positions have lots to offer companies that may not appear on quarterly financial reports. Because of the intangibles that make businesses great employers, American companies must foster more women into executive and management positions.
Photo courtesy of Meg Whitman for Governor at Flickr.com