“Even with the very best of intentions, we have a tendency to gravitate towards people who are like us. It takes a real leader to say ‘I need someone to challenge me.’ That challenge can spawn new creativity, innovation, and growth.”
– Tessa Misiaszek, Associate Dean, Hult International Business School
March 8 is International Women’s Day. As a woman working in BizScale, I am proud and happy to say that our team is quite balanced when it comes to men and women not only in the team but also in leadership positions. While this may not have been intentional, it shows how open and inclusive (and cool!) the culture of the company is.
The presence of women in the workplace makes a palpable difference, although it is not quantifiable unless she is in a leadership position with measurable targets. But think about a female security guard, a female maintenance staff, a female colleague, a female barista, a female boss — they hit you in a certain way that cannot be explained.
It’s as if they combine brute strength with sophisticated grace, no matter how big or small their roles are. They can be firm yet kind, tough yet soft, determined yet gentle. Some may be harder to appreciate than others (I call them “acquired taste”), but at the end of the day, we can all agree that there is a difference when there is a female touch.
A quick history
The Occupational Health & Safety website published an article on International Women’s Day 2020 with a bit on the history of the occasion.
The day also has 3 official colors, according to a recent article published on bbc.com: Purple for justice and dignity; green for hope; and white for purity (Did you react to the last one? Yep, it is a controversial idea.)
The occasion is celebrated today to (still) push for inclusion, diversity, and gender equality in the workplace. We must have — at one point or another — observed that while companies try to adhere to this principle, there’s still the entourage of the boss at work composed of muscles and yes-men. Sometimes there’s still misogyny, too.
So how do we address this and appreciate the women at work better?
Katie Reynolds writes on hult.edu that “Diversity — from gender diversity to culture, age, and race — has been shown to foster creativity and innovation. From PricewaterhouseCooper, to Disney and L’Oreal, organizations across industries are seeking to prioritize and benefit from a diverse and inclusive work environment.”
Every member of the team brings their own experience, background, and story to the table. It’s good to foster a culture where discussion and feedbacking is encouraged (which is how Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg work with each other). Differences in perspective and opinion must be appreciated, and team members need to communicate with each other with respect.
Two people who don’t think the same way can pave the way for new ideas and innovation if they work together and make it work.
Reynolds writes: “While technical skill and knowledge are fundamental to career success, CEOs consistently cite soft skills as the most desirable professional attributes. Although characteristics like effective communication, empathy, and self-awareness are difficult to measure, they are highly valued and can make a real difference to the bottom line.”
She cited a research conducted by KRW International which measured the return on character. Respondents from 84 companies categorized their CEOs as two types: Virtuoso CEO and Self-Focused CEO. The result? “CEOs whose employees gave them high marks for character had an average return on assets of 9.35% over a two-year period.”
Soft skills make a difference, and they — with emotional intelligence — are a competitive advantage of women. They include self-awareness, empathy, conflict management, adaptability, and teamwork — some of the things necessary in an effective and inspiring leader.
By 2019, the estimate was that women “contribute in excess of USD$20 trillion in consumer spending every year, representing a bigger growth market than China and India combined. Women also account for 85% of consumer purchases.” (hult.edu)
Insights from both men and women can “make products and services more marketable and a business more profitable,” Reynolds writes.
Work with us and let the BizScale team make your business more diverse, inclusive, and rich with experience and insights. Complete the form on this page, email us at email@example.com, call us at 833-722-5310, or book time on Calendly today!