Why Women Rule and Make the Best Leaders

Men, I’m sorry to say this, but we are almost extinct.

We have become comfortable in our male created hierarchy and have received the benefit of, on the whole, working in male led business’.

I believe that Women Rule and we have to adapt, otherwise we risk becoming obsolete and irrelevant.

Want to know why? Read on..

Differences

Men and Women are different to each other (well, duh!). It is women’s innate skill that sets them apart.
Think about the behaviour and skills you want in a leader. I believe you see in women, more than you do in men.

Women’s behaviour and skills have developed other thousands of years and history has helped to shape the differences.

Below are some examples of where I believe Women outshine Men.

  • Talented with words (women use 2000 words more than men, on a daily basis).
  • Excellent at reading non-verbal (body language) clues.
  • Emotional intelligence and sensitivity.
  • Multi tasking.
  • Ability to plan for the long-term and deliver to plan.
  • Networking.
  • Reaching consensus and a way forward.

I’m not saying men don’t show these skills, but do they have everything on the list? When I think about my last 10 years in a leadership role, I have seen women trounce men on all the above fronts, they have done so time after time.

Women Rule

What Else?

Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps is a book written by Barbara and Allan Pease.

They list subtle differences between men and women.

  • Women love to talk. Men talk silently to themselves.
  • Women multitrack.
  • Women are indirect. Men are direct.
  • Women talk emotively. Men are literal.
  • Men listen like statues.
  • Boys like things. Girls like people.
  • Boys compete. Girls Cooperate.
  • Men hate to be wrong.
  • Men hide their emotions.

As you can see, there are several similarities between the two set of bullet points.
In terms of leadership it is vital you put the right person into a role.

The key is to understand what you want in a role, what the role and the business looks like over the next three to five years and recruit in line with this.

May the best person win.

Performance

My teams have always had a higher percentage of women in them. To start with it was just pure luck, with little input into the make up of the team. Over time this changed and I started (along with my peers) to have more say in which people came into my team.

I found myself gravitating more towards the women, than the men. This was based on many factors but the bottom line was performance. Women would outshine the men and deliver great performance on a consistent basis.

To support my view a league table was introduced and published monthly. It was a tool to help find the best performers and celebrate success. It also promoted complete transparency and everyone was clear on what was needed, to succeed. The top of the league table would feature the top ten performers.

Who do you think featured most often at the top, men or women?

Correct! Women!

In 2013 we had two months out of twelve where men crept into the top ten – two months!
The rest of 2013 is dominated by women.

Women rule

Record Smashed

Each person in my team would receive between four and eight quality checks a month, depending on how well they were performing. The targets and everything they had to remember, to achieve target, was challenging.

Top performers would achieve target in most months, but every now and again they would slip up. In most cases they would have an 80% pass rate over the year.

I talk to my team about consistency and how this is key to achieving strong performance. Focus on doing the basics well, focus on consistency and you will outperform the majority of your peers.

One member of my team, Nicola, had the best run of quality checks I have ever seen.

18 months passed without Nicola failing a single quality check.

I’m not talking about the monthly average here. I’m talking about the individual quality checks where the pass rate is 80%. Over the 18 months Nicola will have seen somewhere in the region of 75-100 quality checks – each and every one achieved target.

For anyone with a background of Customer Service and Call Centre work, you will understand how big an achievement this is. Nicola had many of the qualities on the above two lists and I believe it is why she was successful, so often.

I have always encouraged my team to look for new opportunity and to stretch themselves.

I saw a PA role vacancy come up and I thought Nicola would be perfect for it. I encouraged her to apply, helped her with the application form and we crossed all our fingers.

Today she is PA for the Head of Risk and has a great reputation in what she does.

Women Rule

The Challenge

This article is not designed to be condescending to women or insulting to men.

It is my view of what I have experienced and what I believe.

Women have faced many challenges in the workplace and will continue to do so.

On the whole women are paid less and have to deal with unfair assumptions about their character.

We have less women in senior leadership positions.

There is still a lot to do, to make sure a level playing field exists for everyone.

I guess it can be summed up by Allison Pearson’s book ‘I Don’t Know How She Does It.’
She provides a great example of what women contend with and how their qualities are overshadowed by lazy thinking.

‘When a woman skips a meeting to go to a kid’s soccer game, she gets points off for doing ‘the Softie Mom Thing.’ When a guy takes time off to the same, he scores a bushel of points for ‘having the guts to do the family thing’

Women rule

The Future

I often wonder if I allow bias to enter into my view of why Women Rule.

I have to challenge myself and make sure the facts stack up and the performances are linked to my belief.

I don’t always get it right but I have more examples of women outperforming men.

My philosophy remains unchanged.

If I’m recruiting, coaching or developing people, I always come back to the following thoughts (regardless of whether they are male or female).

  • Who can manage more than one thing at once?
  • Who usually takes care of the details and ensures the basics are done well?
  • Who finds it easier to meet new people?
  • Who asks more questions in a conversation?
  • Who is a better listener?
  • Who has more interest in communication skills?
  • Who is more inclined to get involved?
  • Who encourages harmony and agreement?
  • Who is better at intuition?
  • Who is better at keeping in touch with others?

I’m not advocating the removal of men from the workplace, far from it, but I want to highlight what I believe to be key leadership skills.

Women show these skills and behaviours more often than their male colleagues.

This is my reality.

Men, I guess it is time to become a little more feminine.

Women Rule.

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