Executive Coaching Articles

Men & Women in Business Leadership

Several recent studies show that men and women working together in business leadership produce better results than men only businesses. The collaborative effort results in a stronger bottom line, and increased innovation and accountability.

Roy D. Adler and his colleagues at the Pepperdine University found the “correlation between high-level female executives and business success has been consistent and revealing.”

The Catalyst Report, Linking Performance and Gender Balance on the Board found that Fortune 500 companies with 3 or more women on the board had significant performance advantages: 83% better return on equity and 112% better return on invested capital.

Clearly it’s in the best interest of businesses to foster the growth of both men and women to business leadership positions.

The Value Men and Women bring to Businesses

  1. The best minds. Companies benefit from the best minds. To reduce the pool of qualified talent for any reason or in any way is simply foolish. Cultural biases based on race, age, or gender blind management to valuable prospects.

    The Miller-McCune Report states it well. When companies choose the best talent “…regardless of gender, the best brains are available to continue making smart, and profitable, decisions.” Companies who want to prosper, benefit from choosing the best.

  2. Diversity breeds innovation and Creativity. Companies that mix cultures, genders and age learn this process enriches their thinking. Each gets the benefits of new ways of looking at the problem.

    Businesses prosper when the thoughts and ideas of both men and women are respected and valued. The collaborative effort creates richer diversity and a greater chance to increase a company’s bottom line.

  3. Think Differently. Studies have shown that men and women think differently. Taking advantage of those valuable differences can add depth to innovation and problem solving.

    Management styles may also differ. And this allows different personalities to prosper and add value to the company in ways that might not occur under fewer management styles.

Ways to Strengthen Your Business

Companies must make a strategic decision to include more women in leadership.

  1. Evaluating management for bias. Successful companies begin by evaluating their company leadership and culture for bias. The difficulty is that bias is so subtle, people are convinced they don’t have it. Often it’s necessary for an outside expert to evaluate the company to discover the culture.

    There may be underlying issues that create either a workplace unfriendly to women or a place where women prefer not to work.

  2. Establish a focused, deliberate plan. Any change requires a plan with benchmarks, evaluation, and follow-through. To reach the goal for more women in higher places, which will lead to a richer bottom line, a specific plan must be in place. The management must give it authority and priority.
  3. Quality Mentoring. The plan to help men and women work better in leadership positions will benefit from equal mentoring.

    Currently mentoring may be less successful for women. A Catalyst survey of both men and women M.B.A. graduates found that men’s mentors are much more highly placed and more likely to be chief executives than women’s mentors. Highly placed mentors give the person they mentor more advice, more opportunities, and more promotions. Equaling this playing field will greatly benefit women and the companies they work for.

  4. Publicly recognize women in leadership. Giving recognition, both publicly and privately, is important for all employees. By recognizing women business leaders for their successes, you not only make them feel good about themselves, but also increase their visibility and prestige within the organization.

The Bottom Line

Companies seeking a competitive advantage will want to use the best minds and create the most effective workplace. When both men and women are actively involved in business leadership the success is in the bottom line.

To check your company for unintended bias or to help create valuable mentoring programs, contact Joel.