The way women leaders across the world handled the COVID-19 crisis is a testament to their ability to lead a nation or a large company. The strongest initial response to the pandemic was seen in countries led by women. Unfortunately, only 7 percent of the world’s leaders are women. Based on an analysis of 194 countries, the infection and fatality rates were lower in the first three months for countries that had female leaders.
Women don’t govern countries the same way as men do. While there has been a huge spurt of interest in creating more women leaders, there is a misconception that if women behave like men, they will be able to get leadership positions. One of the reasons why there are a lot of male leaders is because they don’t face any obstacle in taking up important positions.
The truth is that instead of asking women to model men in leadership positions, the opposite should be done. By adopting the traits that we see in women leaders, men will be able to advance even faster and be more effective at their jobs.
Here are certain things that men can learn from women leaders:
Most companies believe that employees owe all of their time to the firm. Businesses that lack of work-life balance policies are usually helmed by men. They don’t understand the hard work associated with domestic chores because many haven’t even once taken the responsibility of the household. On the other hand, women know the kind of impact that a good work-life balance will provide. Women leaders tend to make it a priority to provide a balance when it comes to work so that things are smooth for their employees at home.
Put people ahead of yourself
Leaders can be self-centred to a fault that it affects everyone else around them. Good leaders know that if they need to create a high-performing team, then they need to focus on the people. This is something women are good at. Women can nurture colleagues, care about the well-being of team members, and help them discover their true potential. Meanwhile, men tend to think about goals and deadlines, but rarely ponder over the people who are a part of the success.
Empathy is one of the most important traits of a leader. Women have shown time and again that they are kind and understanding of the needs of others. Leadership today demands that you establish a connection with people so that you can influence them. Men can learn a lot about how to be empathetic by watching women.
The value of truth cannot ever be discounted. It is extremely important as it can manage uncertainties, equips people with knowledge, and gives them the agency to take decisions. When Germany was reeling under the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Angela Markel, Chancellor of Germany, did not shy away from saying the truth. She passed information about the effects of the virus from verified sources and warned her citizens. She said, “There are indications that things will become more difficult in coming months … It’s serious … Continue to take it seriously.”
Leaders need to be more humble and understanding, instead of being narcissistic and egoistic. In fact, there are established gender-differences in humility, which favours women. If leaders were to be selected based on humility, you will find that there would be more female leaders than males. This is not to say that all women are humble. Humility is important for a great leader. It allows the person to acknowledge their mistakes, learn from it, and use the lesson in the future while making decisions.
Here are some statistics on women in leadership roles:
Only 4.9 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women.
For every 100 men promoted and hired for a managerial role, only 72 women are promoted and hired in the US.
A McKinsey report says that only one-third of companies set a target for the representation of women at the first-level management, and only 41 percent for senior levels of management.
Women are over-represented in support functions while men are surplus in positions that are of strategic importance to the company.
Around 40 percent of HR directors are women, while only 17 percent of CMOs and 16 percent of CIOs are women.
India has the dubious distinction of having the third-lowest global representation of women managers in the world.
(Edited by Kanishk Singh)