We do a lot of talking about how women should act in order to keep their place, excel, and ‘fit’ into the corporate world. There are plenty of “silent” guidelines for how women should talk, dress, act, and lead that seem to actually be identical to those recommended to men!? So we, women, are to understand the subliminal message to “behave as close to a man as you possibly can.”
That may have been the only way to enter the business world and the only way to stay for women with corporate and top leadership dreams. But both of these expectations on women are now old or expired. Business and corporate culture are changing drastically, quickly and I believe there is no turning back.
Businesses are experiencing a profound shift in the process of doing business and getting results. Results and goals are Masculine Intelligence, while the process and the ways to go about obtaining results is of Feminine Intelligence. We are organically moving away from hyper-masculine corporate cultures’ conditioning and moving into a space where relationships, vulnerability, and authenticity are crucial to the people involved in creating results. The line between business and personal life is blurring. Employees and customers are expecting full humanity out of businesses. Businesses are now expected to care for all parties involved and be a force for good. Are you and your business ready to manage this change successfully?
Businesses need to rise to a level of consciousness that includes both masculine and feminine energy (or what I have named “Intelligence”) merging together in harmony to create a culture that supports both men and women living and working as their authentic selves. This isn’t just wishful thinking either. The companies who fulfill this and create such cultures are the ones who are thriving and surviving in the long run. That is the sustainable way to rise to a higher level of high performance. Women are capable of creating the bridge between productivity and profits. Companies with the highest percentage of women in leadership had median (?) returns on assets and equity in 2015 at least 74% higher than the average of overall companies. That is a significant contribution to short & long term business viability.
Feminine leadership additionally sparks creativity as well. Companies with women in top management positions have on average 20% more innovative patents than those who don’t.
It’s in every company’s best interest to keep women on board and moving up into top leadership. However, women are leaving at exponential rates. Last year, there was a huge 25% drop in female CEOs at Fortune 500 firms.
So how do companies make women happy and keep them thriving in corporate circles to make space for top individual AND team performance?
As a former founder and executive of a multi-million dollar company, as well as the expert of how to bridge Feminine and Masculine Intelligence within high level Influencers and companies… I have a few recommendations:
1. Pay them equally and make it clear – equal pay:
It’s truly incredible that we still have to talk about this in 2019 but equal pay is still a problem. Women are still in positions at work where they likely know they are getting paid less than their male colleagues at the same level and sometimes even those who they manage. If women perceive the position they’re in as unfair, they will likely start looking for alternative cultures where they feel supported, understood and protected. Companies should work to create transparency when it comes to pay at work, and on all other challenges at hand while they’re at it, so that women feel they do not have to play a constant game of chess with men and managers to ensure they are compensated for their true worth.
2. Mentorship and role models at work – empathic support:
One of the biggest things women seek at work is mentorship from other women in the same position and environment as them. This is powerful for keeping junior women on board long enough to rise to upper management and make significant change in the company and leadership overall. This is especially true for industries that are dominantly male, which most are! Companies want to work to connect women at different levels for mentorship programs to ensure that the support they need to feel comfortable in conquering their environment and role is present. Nothing is more helpful and powerful than empathy. In the long run, companies benefit from women in upper management and a lower turnover.
3. Provide regular recognition and feedback – clear communication:
Women crave verbal recognition and feedback for their accomplishments, just as much as men, even if we are less persistent about it. We want to feel like our work has intrinsic value to the company and is worthy of management’s time. Frequent reviews, I suggest on a quarterly basis, and equal amounts of responsibility distributed to women by management equally important for creating this support system.
4. Real opportunities for success – equal opportunity:
A lot of women feel like there is no way up for them in their current roles as they see men rise more frequently and faster. When surveyed, a lot of women also felt that others didn’t feel confident in their ability and they were not offered raises, opportunities, and promotions nearly as much as men. Making a clear point to invite women to these opportunities based on merit alone is something that can be controlled and organized by management across sectors.
5. Flexibility – adaptability makes for a resilient & trusting culture:
Women in this era seek flexibility so they do not have to give up the feminine parts of themselves and of their lives to be successful at work. Women seek remote work opportunities so they can be involved with family as well as companies that give equal paid time off for both fathers and mothers to support women and families who choose to do both. In the long run, companies who choose to support employees personal decisions benefit from long term loyalty and top talent retention.
With more companies following these guidelines, the influx of top female talent is inevitable. The development and sustainability of strong female leadership will lead companies to success in this new era. Investing in Gender Intelligence programs and coaching for executives to create empathic and consciously performant cultures is a must today to manage this change victoriously. It is in everyone’s best that Women and men start learning to work together successfully rather than waste precious corporate time pointing the finger at their differences.
Interested in learning more about the ways to bridge Gender Intelligence in your organization for a more conscious high performance level?