As 2021 begins, there is a glaring truth that confronts me and confronts anyone who looks beyond the immediate appearances of our day to day life. And that is that women are still far behind in the status, position, power and influence that they ought to have. The patriarchal systems and processes that have evolved our politics, our business, our technology, our media and communication processes and our social and cultural systems were by and large created by men, sustained by men and thrive in the way that they do because men take up the leading positions and continue to promote those that think and act in the same ways.
At some point, women must say enough is enough and assert new, transforming thinking and behaviours that produce role models that they can point to and say – yes, that is women leadership. Women leadership behaviours can be created by values that draw from the humane range of feeling that comes naturally to us and responses to critical events that demonstrate a different response to what men in similar positions do.
Fortunately the Covid19 pandemic created opportunities for the few women leaders in politics to demonstrate a range of behaviours that were more representative of how women think and feel. Jacinda Ardern drew great praise for her prompt decisiveness in responding to the health crisis, and her warm, humane responses were a surprise for all. Similar praise went to Angela Merkel who approached the issue in the signature manner of a scientist-turned-stateswoman — with pragmatic empathy, a drive to experiment, and a belief in the need for collective action. Each female leader has shown us what good leadership means, each in their different ways, allowing us to a variety of behaviours that we can use to illustrate great leadersdhip.
In fact, the Harvard Business Review ‘Research: Women Are Better Leaders During a Crisis’ December 2020 summarised that women were better leaders in a crisis, by saying: “There has been a lot said about how women have done a better job leading during the Covid-19 crisis than men. According to an analysis of 360-degree assessments conducted between March and June of this year, women were rated by those who work with them as more effective. The gap between men and women in the pandemic is even larger than previously measured, possibly indicating that women tend to perform better in a crisis. In fact, women were rated more positively on 13 of the 19 competencies that comprise overall leadership effectiveness.“
(For full article: https://hbr.org/2020/12/research-women-are-better-leaders-during-a-crisis?ab=hero-main-text)
As women leaders if we need external evidence to provide us with the courage to step out and up – to let our natural aptitudes shine – then we can look to those role models of those who go before us, and recognise their innate genius to perform in ways that have already delivered value to the world.
Then, let’s take the leap of faith to undertake our own journey into transformational leadership, for we’ll transform not only ourselves, but the world.