Whether we’re talking about race, religion, disability, gender, or sexual orientation, there is no such thing as diversity for diversity’s sake. The positive impacts of bringing together people with different life experiences are well-documented and richly varied. And no place is this more apparent - but still hugely underrepresented - than the world of corporate work.
Even when the topic of women in leadership roles is championed, it’s frequently done with an air of triteness or belittlement. We call women Girl Bosses and She-EOs—titles that anchor these kinds of achievements to femininity over, say, skill, drive and personality. We continue to look at women in leadership through an entirely different lens than that of men. One that - though we may not always admit it - is far less revered.
The really interesting part? It’s completely inaccurate. It’s been proven that female leaders have a significantly better impact on a company’s bottom line than their male counterparts. Why? It comes down to leadership styles.
Research from Potential Project found that women tend to lead companies with something they call “compassionate wisdom”, which is the leadership style most likely to drive engaged, happy, and productive teams. The findings show that, by driving more engaged employees, female leaders save their organizations $1.43 million for every 1,000 employees. Patriarchal ideologies might have us believing that kindness is weakness but, actually, kindness pays.
What’s more, this kind of leadership style is only set to become more influential as conversations around employee wellbeing and the concept of human capital become more common. Trends like The Great Resignation have shown us that workers are far less willing to tolerate toxic workplaces and poor working conditions. A company that leads with compassion and has strong female influence over its culture is less likely to lose talent this way.
It’s also been proven that women are better leaders during a crisis. We all watched in admiration as the Former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, navigated the Covid-19 pandemic with cool intellect—leading her country to consistently have some of the lowest rates of infection and fastest return to normal life. But her story is not an isolated one. Research by Harvard Business Review found that, over the course of the pandemic, “women were rated significantly more positively than men'' and, when compared to post-pandemic numbers, found that “the gap between men and women in the pandemic is even larger than previously measured, possibly indicating that women tend to perform better in a crisis.”
Clearly, the narrative is not in keeping with the facts. And with all the numbers working in favour of female leadership, perhaps it’s time to stop giving women a pat on the back when, really, we should be asking for their advice.
At Remotify, we’re founded and run by a Woman of Colour, so diversity is close to our heart. We specialise in helping businesses harness the power of human capital and create companies that are truly great places to work. How do we do it? Give us a call and find out!