“I believe women should take the lead in all countries – maybe a little safer” – The Dalai Lama
I describe myself not as a feminist but as an equalist.
I’ve long maintained there has never been a glass ceiling, only a lack of confidence to crack it. Things are changing now and quite fast stimulated by the MeToo and similar campaigns and the gender pay inequality row.
I’ve mentioned Jinny Ditzler before. She’s the top executive coach and co-founder of Best Year Yet who helped get me back on track after taking a career break when I had my daughter. Under her guidance I listed ten things I had to do in a week then ticked them off the following one.
When I realised all the easy things were done – taking clothes to dry cleaners for example and the difficult ones – talking to my managing director about going full-time, I procrastinated. Not for long though as I became embarrassed as week after week that one on the list remained unfulfilled. But eventually I did act and that’s when things started to happen.
Over the years my trajectory from writing for national newspapers and magazines into TV producing, writing for TV, novels and now charity work, I credit the initial confidence Jinny gave me.
She and I share a great belief in what women can achieve. Recent research proves that when there are women on the Board, the company improves on many levels. Efforts by such organisations such as the 30% Group which aims to get more women on FTSE Boards and the 50-50 project for equality in Parliament and I say more power to them!
Of course, there will be some women executives who think they must act as if they have balls to be most effective. These women make working life extremely hard for their staff (especially for some reason, the female staff).
Read on to see why this attitude is completely wrong:
“When I first started working with top business teams in the 80’s,” says Jinny, “there wasn’t a woman in the room. However, as the years went by more women moved to executive positions. The difference in the way the team worked with women on the team was astonishing. The way business was done began to shift to a more positive and productive culture.
“I have nothing against men but while their track record in building successful businesses is impressive, on the softer side of building happy companies only a small number have a clue.
“The reasons below are describing women at their best though I appreciate there are men who have some of these qualities so this isn’t an attack, but rather an opportunity for them to consider having more women on the team ~ or leading the teams!
Here’s what women offer, what makes the difference, and why it’s time for more (non-male) women to take the lead according to Jinny:
We think differently.
The way we look at people and problems provide a unique clarity. We’re less apt to see others as a means to an end and more likely to appreciate what each person has to give.
We bring positive energy. When women joined the teams I coached, the atmosphere became warmer, friendlier, and less all business. At the start of the meeting women greet people, connect with others, and create relationships that make for a more productive meeting.
We generate teamwork.
We’re less attached to our ideas, willing for others to win, and able to see things from another perspective. Because so much has always been expected of men, they have a stronger drive to prove themselves. Consider the Metoo and other similar campaigns and the difference they’ve made.
We listen to others’ ideas and take them seriously. Although we can get caught, we’re much less invested in the automatic ‘not invented here’ response. We’re more apt to trust them, include them, and listen to them. Imagine what it would be like to be managed by someone who knows and respects who you are.
When women are starting their own business or already have a business, they naturally practice what they know as a woman. For the most part we’re not embarrassed to be an enthusiastic champion. When your people know you care about them, magic happens. To transform your business, transform your people.
Watch a woman in a crisis. We may fall at the start, get caught in our doubts and fears, but soon we pick ourselves up and get on with it. When we catch ourselves in a self-absorbed state of mind, we recognize what’s happening and pull ourselves up and return our attention to what matters.
We’re taking the lead as never before. We’ve stopped being victims and worrying about what others think of us. More of us are now taking matters into our own hands.
If you don’t score 100 per cent on these reasons to take the lead ~ who does? ~ use them to focus on your strengths, return to your purpose, and make the difference you know how to make.”