According to an analysis by Mercer, globally, women make up 47% of support staff and 42% of professional level positions, but only 29% and 23% of senior and executive level positions, respectively. As for CEOs, only 51 of the Fortune 1000 companies have women CEOs. As the pyramid of corporate hierarchy gets narrower, the disparity becomes way more evident.
According to the ‘CS Gender 3000’, India is lagging by a big margin with 8.5 percent of women occupying senior roles and with just 2% CEO representation. As for Entrepreneurship, according to the sixth economic census by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, women comprise 13.76% of the total entrepreneurs in India. Entrepreneurship, as lucrative and fruitful it seems, women face a very different set of challenges while taking this journey. Various factors are responsible for this including the deep-rooted patriarchy that haunts our society to date.
We have listed 5 skills you could use to keep your sanity while you try to conquer the world of leadership excellence.
Multi-tasking is a human delusion, learn to do multiple tasks simultaneously instead:
Apparently, women are gifted with the power of multi-tasking and somehow we also believe that. But in reality, we are just doing multiple tasks one after the other. Given our culture-biased gender roles, women are much better at doing multiple tasks in succession than men. We need to use this advantage to gain the upper hand over our male peers.
Confidence is key- Stand by your decisions:
An HP report found that men will apply for a job if they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications, but women will apply only if they meet 100 percent. Given this disparity which begins right from the application stage, it is no surprise that there are fewer women in upper-level management than men.
Entrepreneur Reshma Saujani, in her renowned Ted Talks, speaks about how she thinks “it's evident that women have been socialized to aspire to perfection, and they're overly cautious.” Reshma points out how women would build a better economy if “we socialized them to be brave instead of socialising them to be perfect.” You need to use these details and go against your instinct at times to be confident in your decision-making process.
Be the effective communicators we were born to be:
Oration is not communication. Considering women are primary caregivers, we understand the different facets of communication such as effective use of nonverbal language, ability to read, ability to write well, and active listening. Women leaders who have worked on and mastered this art, provide their peers with guidance, ask questions, and always seek feedback.
These women leaders are always transparent in their communication so that they do not confuse the recipient of the information. This is an innate ability that most women have, but just need to tap into. We recommend that you do not stop in your pursuit of perfection, keep at this art, it will help you move further in your career.
Get yourself a mentor for every stage of your career:
The best way to learn how to be a great leader is to first find an inspiration. To get yourself a mentor is fairly simple - you find that one person whose achievements inspire you to do more and do well. It is highly unlikely that someone will offer to be your mentor, you’ll likely have to do the scouting and ‘courting’.
While it is alright to ask someone in your industry or office to be your mentor, a great mentor relationship doesn’t need to be in your same line of work. Look for a person of similar values, then have casual meetings with them to find the one with whom you can build a rapport.
An important tip is, be prepared to explain what you hope to learn, why you value their insight and expertise, and what you bring to the relationship. Once this is complete, the blueprint is simple, when faced with a big decision or obstacle, imagine how your mentor would handle it.
Harnessing our ability to manage emotions both ours and theirs:
Collectively known as emotional intelligence, the critical elements that successful women leaders exhibit include social skills, empathy, motivation, relationship management and self-awareness. All outstanding women leaders can work with others towards achieving the personal and professional growth of everyone.
For you to develop emotional intelligence as a leader, identify how you can effectively manage negative emotions, judgments and stressful situations so you do not get overwhelmed by them while taking decisions. This will help you grow as a leader and become more assertive as opposed to reactive.
(Edited by Neha Baid)