Women in the US hold about 52% of all professional-level jobs. However, we make up only 14.6% of executive positions, 8.1% of top wage earners, and 4.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs. While women are making strides in the business world, we have yet to be fully appreciated for the unique qualities and abilities we bring to the workplace. Coming from a lineage of strong women, I grew up watching my mother, aunts, and grandmother practice strong leadership skills that are often appreciated at home, but under appreciated in the workforce.
Women naturally possess many leadership skills that are taught amongst the greatest institutions of learning such as emotional intelligence, effective communication, and creative thinking. Likewise, women are great at multi-tasking and prioritizing. Throughout history, many women have flawlessly managed their household obligations while operating businesses, furthering their education, or caring for ailing loved ones. Women’s natural, nurturing instincts are an asset to effectively managing today’s employees who increasingly need more guidance in self-management and problem solving.
There are a number of statistics regarding the number of households led by women. But most researchers fail to see the positive correlation with women’s leadership at home and leadership in business and in society. Motherhood provides women with years of experience managing crisis, counseling others, and budgeting making us great candidates for leadership. I think we can all agree that the women in our lives have helped shape us over the years through their love, sacrifice, wisdom, and strength. Organizations can benefit from those innate leadership skills that women bring to the table to help them better manage their customer relations, human resources, and create more nurturing cultures. In essence, women in leadership can help reduce organization's costs by decreasing employee turn-over, decreasing legal costs incurred for work place discrimination, and eliminating wasted spending.
Interestingly, research indicates that women often hold themselves back from pursuing leadership positions due to lack of confidence. I encourage women to acknowledge their instinctive leadership skills. Women also hold themselves back from leadership attainment due to concerns with balancing work and family life. However, I encourage women to utilize the same skills they often use to advocate for their children and loved ones, to advocate for more family-friendly work place policies such as flexible work scheduling, telework, on-site childcare facilities, child-care subsidies, and paid family sick leave. Advances in technology make working from home much more feasible and also reduces organizational costs. I encourage women to become the natural born leaders that you are and to do so with the gifts of womanhood in which God has endowed us. Shatter glass ceilings, including the one is your own mind!
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