Mar 01 2022| Leadership | leaders | Values

A leader’s skills and qualities are genderless

March Business Brief

by Kareena Hodgson Leaders Consultancy

While we live in a fast-paced, ever-changing world, making changes that champion diversity, equality and inclusion always means playing catch up. On 8 March we celebrate International Women’s Day, and the theme this year is ‘Break the Bias’. In Kareena’s first article in Business Brief, she takes the opportunity to continue the conversation and challenge gender bias in our community and workplaces, and in leadership.

Whilst acknowledging that men and women are different, traditional stereotypical gender leadership traits need to go for good. As do the stereotypical perceptions of them. The aim here is not to put men down, this is about the importance of equality, the need to move away from a male vs female comparison (it’s interesting to think about who actually decided what ‘traditional male and traditional female traits’ were anyway). It’s also the importance of competition and moving towards inclusivity, valuing individual skills and abilities in the workplace - that remain genderless - and truly celebrating the ‘better together’ mindset. 

For example, when a male leader is assertive, he may be admired and congratulated for being a strong leader, whereas a female leader being assertive may be criticised for being too bossy. We only need to look at senior leadership roles in business and the community today to see that the vast majority of these roles remain occupied by men.

A powerful way to be an agent of change in your business or organisation, and to be a champion of developing great leadership in yourself or others, is by using psychometrics. Psychometrics do not have a gender bias, they produce data on individual strengths and areas to develop, which is a reliable foundation to build on leadership skills.

Leaders today should focus on recognising what the Gen-Z workforce is looking for, and apply lessons learnt during the pandemic. Employees want to be valued and understood by their leaders and organisations, they want to be led by authentic leaders who can demonstrate compassion and drive the vision and mission forward, who can demonstrate kindness and meet the bottom line. For example, a recent survey in the US found that 90% of workers believe that empathy is an essential leadership skill which leads to higher job satisfaction, and 79% agreed that it decreases employee turnover.* Senior leaders will ignore this to their detriment. Let’s work on changing this.

Beate Chelette, entrepreneur, author and business strategist, is a champion of leadership equality and has made her life’s purpose to bring together and blend what is perceived as male leadership and female leadership to create a new way to lead.

This is something that we at Leaders believe is essential for future leadership. Great leadership isn’t male or female. Great leadership adapts and leads people, companies or nations through the current situation. Great leaders reflect on their skills and make learning and development a priority; they balance the need to get business done with looking after their people. Great leaders demonstrate vision, authenticity, empathy, ambition, assertiveness, competence, accountability and agility.

All of these skills and qualities are genderless, and that’s the way it should stay.

 

*https://www.ey.com/en_us/news/2021/09/ey-empathy-in-business-survey

About The Author | Kareena Hodgson

Having achieved a degree in Community and Youth Work, Kareena built her career in the third sector. She was head of Action for Children in Guernsey for over 10 years, working with a wide range of often challenging situations. Kareena is keenly committed to fostering systems and environments that enable people to flourish. This includes substantial experience in team building and leadership, engaging with multiple stakeholders and supporting individuals in creating healthier habits in work and life. The combination of her encouraging style, people-first mindset, creative thinking, aptitude for utilising insights from psychometric surveys and passion for healthy environments is an asset for any team in any sector.

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