By Jay Ledesma
“EMPOWERING women is key to building a future we want.” – Amartya Sen
According to the latest Grant Thornton’s annual Women’s Business Report, the Philippines ranks first globally in terms of women in leadership positions. The report showed that women holding senior leadership positions in mid-market businesses rose to 48% in 2020, amidst the pandemic. Now, that’s a bit of good news worth celebrating as we end International Women’s Month.
We have seen how the role of women has evolved through the years. From managing the domestic front, women now hold critical leadership positions in corporations, businesses, government, civic organizations, and even in the health sectors. They are not just extending support in problem-solving and decision-making, they are actually decision-makers. They are not just taking and following orders, they now provide directions. They are not mere homemakers, they build a nation.
What makes women leaders stand out in their roles? Why are companies and organizations entrusting women to be at the helm of their major operations? I had the opportunity to lead various positions in the past and also had the privilege of working with other women leaders. Among the many qualities and attributes that distinct women as leaders, here are what I consider to be foremost in the list
Women have more empathy. It’s in the DNA of women to have the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Women leaders can easily understand what others feel, see things from their perspective and imagine themselves in their place. It’s natural for women to be interested in what’s happening and why things are happening. They have the patience to listen. They are more welcoming, nurturing, and non-intimidating. This makes it easier for others to approach and open up with them. When team members know and feel that their leaders are interested in their concerns and sentiments, they are more supportive of the team’s goals.
Women are multi-taskers. Women are gifted with the talent to do several things all at the same time with ease and confidence. Imagine this… a mother driving her daughter to school, putting on her makeup in between stops, giving instructions to her office staff over the phone, and reviewing her daughter for her exams. All these she does while driving in her heels. What about a work-from-home mother who attends zoom meetings with the staff, while cooking meals for the family and tutoring her kids. Women leaders are so familiar with performing several tasks, leading different committees and undertaking multiple projects simultaneously, and still delivering the required results. In today’s work environment, where everyone is expected to assume and do multiple roles and functions, this multi-tasking ability of women leaders comes in very handy.
Women are more detail-oriented. Women are wired to be more diligent, thorough and give much attention to all the small particulars when working on a task, usually resulting to flawless execution and quality output. As they pay attention to details, they are also quick to notice mistakes and fix them easily. Women leaders are more organized, making regular lists and schedules of things to do which enable them to finish more tasks at a given time. Higher management appreciates this skill in their middle managers as this allows them to focus on bigger ticket items instead of constantly checking on and supervising their one downs.
Women are more resilient. Women are born with resilient genes. They perform under pressure, cope with disruptions, bounce back and adapt. This makes them powerful agents of change since they can quickly adjust and adapt to what is needed by the situation. Women may not be physically strong but they have that inner strength to handle difficulties and challenges and thrive. They are firm but agile and focused but flexible. The pandemic has shown that women can handle different crises. May it be a crisis at home or at the workplace, women have played crucial roles in resolving them. When team members see their leaders show courage, professionalism, and willingness to change, during tough times, they feel encouraged and inspired to be resilient themselves.
Women are more inclusive. Women have the innate ability to manage and lead groups of diverse people while respecting their uniqueness and individuality in an empathic way. Their leadership espouses a culture where everyone is encouraged to speak up and bring their ideas to the table. Perhaps because their ego is not as strong as that of their male counterparts, women leaders are more open to suggestions, willing to seek assistance, and are more collaborative. Team members are more engaged and empowered when they feel that their ideas and opinions are listened to and valued by their leaders. An engaged employee is a productive employee.
Being ranked number 1 globally in terms of women in leadership positions is a recognition of the importance and benefits of Filipino women in leadership and opens even more doors to Filipinas to assume positions of power. Thanks to all the companies and organizations who continue to recognize the efforts and contributions of the women in the workplace by giving them opportunities to grow and lead. Let’s continue to celebrate women's empowerment!
About the Columnist
Ms. Jay Ledesma writes about local tourism and business bits that delve on investments and insurance.