Empowering Excellence: How Maximising Women in Leadership Drives Superior Business Performance

Digital Bricks Learning Trainer, Laura Howard, outlines a simple way to maximise business performance, saving employers money on costly recruitment. Laura is an organisational psychologist, ‘women in leadership’ specialist and author. She’s passionate about helping businesses to develop equitable teams for greater performance and employee job satisfaction. Keep reading to discover more…

Creating gender-equitable employer businesses for longevity and customer results

If you run a business in a competitive market, you demand high-performing, creative organisational talent that achieves an advantage over your rivals. Yet, attracting, retaining and promoting top talent has arguably never been so tough. 

Business owners and managers often spend time and resources training employees, only for them to leave. Or, they may advertise for months without being able to find a single suitable candidate. Unfortunately, stale and ineffective recruitment and retention can lead to weaker customer service and business underperformance. 

Businesses must recruit and retain high-performing employees to secure their future. But, what if existing methods are failing?

It’s time for an alternative approach that levers additional talent to create greater organisational advantages. Did you know that only 31% of global leadership roles are occupied by women? This creates an untapped opportunity for leadership vacancies to be filled by female candidates. Approaching the situation differently, with better communicated roles, adapted job descriptions and role re-evaluation, could significantly increase potential candidates for leadership roles. 

In a recent survey, women were rated as better leaders than men. For example, they scored higher for drive, determination, and interpersonal skills. Yet, in many professions, women remain outsiders to leadership roles due to prevailing bias.

How can leaders begin to address bias?

My research identified instances of regular bias in professional business services. For example, women are inherently taken less seriously than men. Organisations and leaders can tackle cases of bias by helping women to take credit for their work and utilising important role models for feminine behaviours that are also recognised as leader-like. Also, consider if a gender pay or Board gap exists in your business and investigate and be proactive in inviting new or existing female talent to fill senior roles. 

Taking some of these simple steps signals that any bias of any description is prohibited and harmful at the organisational level. When managers have committed to preventing bias, the next step is to further develop a culture that transcends equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Top tips for propelling your female talent:

  1. Evaluate your recruitment process. Are positions flexible? Does the employer and advert appeal to diverse talent?
  2. Engage with employees to find out what they most want from work.
  3. Offer opportunities to engage with coaches and mentors to improve self-development.
  4. Develop clear progression pathways aligned to equity, diversity, and inclusion principles. Research shows advancement is an important determinator for retaining women.
  5. Develop your line managers to promote autonomy and flexibility among all employees. The quality of the line-manager relationship is vital to successful employee retention. 

Final thoughts…

The business case for securing a greater number of women leaders is compelling. Historical views of what a leader must be are misaligned to traditional views of femininity. Women may also be selecting themselves out of roles due to self-doubt. Recent research, mentioned here, identifies a huge potential skills base. With allies, sponsors, and role models, there’s a simple way to harness the potential of female talent and address the skills gap.

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