Since we are celebrating Women’s Month, and there has recently been a call for more women to be employed in senior management positions in SA, I thought that it might be a good idea to talk about women in the business environment.
The last thing that I, and I suspect most other women, want, is to be employed to meet some designated quota.
More women should be included because it is a wise business decision to do so, because women are capable of bringing unique perspectives and skills to the work environment.
In a recent article in Forbes.com, Institute for Leading Diversity & Inclusion faculty member Glenn Llopis talks about 4Skills that give women a sustainable advantage over men.
He talks about innate abilities that women possess, which are redefining today’s business landscape.
According to Llopis, women are “opportunity experts”.
Much like immigrants, we are naturally wired to think, act and innovate, he says.
“Women,” he says, “more than men, have the ability to see what others don’t, do what others won’t and keep pushing their ideas and ideals when prudence says quit.”
We have the ability to see opportunity and give our ideas life and we are able to inspire others to do the same.
He goes on to say, that when we are given the opportunity to be ourselves, we are natural leaders.
He then makes the point that we are “networking professionals”, skilled at navigating the business landscape and putting our ideas to the test. We tend to follow up and make sure we talk to people who can take our ideas forward, and our inherent ability to be creative allows us to see opportunities that others often miss.
Third, he says, we are “relationship specialists”, skilled at cultivating relationships that are “purposeful, genuine, and meaningful”. We also spend time sustaining these relationships once we have established them.
In the fourth instance, he says, we are “natural givers”, who seek to give to our communities (which is probably why most non-profit organisations are run by women).
Women are often driven by causes that serve the advancement of societal needs. We are great at inspiring and lifting those around us, which is why most women leaders are such good long-term strategic thinkers. Women are less likely to rally behind a short-term strategy if a more sustainable approach can be adopted.
In addition, research shows, that women in general, including in business, tend to organise in a different manner from men, because we frequently multi-task.
We are also naturally very perceptive, better at delegation and more likely to dish out praise.
It goes without saying that there are many areas in which men excel, and it is not my intention in this article to say that women are better than men, just that it also makes good business sense to appoint women leaders, because we bring a different heart to the table, which can contribute to a balanced, holistic approach to business.
* Melanie Veness is the CEO of the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business.