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Women leadersWomen leaders have an amazing opportunity to shine as globalisation changes the way we do things.

The influences of globalisation

The forces of globalisation – free movement of capital and people, open channels of communication and information flows – have a strong influence on our ‘worldview’.  The previously strong national cultures are dying out as people come to terms with the melting pot of nationalities of people around them.

Some cities have such a significant share of non-nationals living there that you can often hear many languages being spoken other than the national tongue.  The newspaper stands have papers from many countries, there are radio channels in different languages, advertisements and signage are multi-lingual. There are many signs that we no longer live in a mono-cultural society.

Globalisation is changing the rules of the game as we all seek to adapt to each other.  This means that some of our beliefs and norms around ‘how things are’ are being shaken and broken.  When the old rules are no longer valid, this is the ideal opportunity for more radical change.  The challenge is to make the change and to sustain it. I think that the non-controllable nature of globalisation will mean that we never go back to how things were.

What opportunity for women leaders?

As East and West merge, the values of both sides start to blend and we are seeing a softening of masculine domination.  Behaviours such as courtesy and respect, listening before speaking, avoidance of conflict and loss of face and seeking harmony, could all be characterised as having more feminine qualities.

We are probably seeing these moves most in global organisations.  Teams are multi-national and business units are around the world, so the organisation has to adapt its culture to achieve a global identity.  The old foundations are shaken and broken up and the feminine qualities are rising in perceived value.  Leaders are no longer judged by the masculine standard alone and women leaders have an ideal opportunity to rise to the top.

The dominant masculine style is no longer considered a winning approach as organisations look for collaboration, engagement and commitment.  Everything is now so inter-connected and the old rules of competition are no longer valid. Companies are co-operating in order to win in their markets around the world.  This demands strong skills of facilitation and collaboration to win/win solutions.

Time for women leaders to shine?

Look around the world, women leaders are already shining in politics. Aung Sang Suu Kyi in Myanmar, Angela Merkel in Germany and Hillary Clinton in the USA to name but three in three continents.  There seems to be a strong desire for the USA to get its first female President (though who knows what will happen in the polls).  Merkel has been a strong Chancellor in Germany and a leading force in the European Union since 2005. She has brought feminine qualities to the leadership.  Suu Kyi is the power behind the President of Myanmar, forbidden from taking that role by a law that the previous military leadership put in place.  She is world-renowned for her collaborative approach.

Slowly the numbers of female CEOs and Board members is rising and some countries are pushing that forward with quotas.  Research consistently shows that companies with women on the Board achieve better business results than the average.  In the USA According to nonprofit organization Catalyst, companies with the highest percentage of women board directors bring in 42% more in sales and 53% more in return on equity than companies that have the least representation of women on their boards. The business case is proven, government gender equality drives and multi-national cultures are all forces that encourage women leaders to rise to the top.

How can women leaders step up?

The ground is ready for women, so now is the time to have the confidence to step up.  Whether in politics, business or society, women can stop worrying about the barriers to their progress and muster the courage to hurdle them.  People expect to see women leaders now, so give them what they want and stand for a leadership role or apply for that senior position.

If, as a potential leader, you are holding yourself back for lack of confidence, I recommend working on that with a trusted advisor or coach.  Women are not alone in this; many men also work with a coach to build their capability and confidence to step into leadership.

Believe that nothing external is stopping you and believe in yourself as capable of leadership.  The best leaders are imperfect, because perfect wouldn’t be believable.  Have courage and let your light shine!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, do you agree that the ground is now ready for more women leaders?  Please post your comments or questions below.

About Amanda

Amanda shines the light of effective leadership, so that you can see and develop your capabilities and build your confidence to shine.  If you want to step up to lead, contact Amanda for a complementary strategy session.  In this 30min telephone conversation you will get:

  • Clarity on your leadership goal
  • Appreciation of where you are now
  • An outline plan to get you to your goal

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