Women in the Boardroom: Leveraging Natural Abilities for Leadership
When it comes to women in senior positions, there are plenty; but upon examination of the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies, there’s an obvious void. In fact, according to a GMI Ratings Survey, 2013 Women on Boards, the percentage of women holding board positions in the U.S. has risen 1.9 percent since 2009. And, while that may sound good, there was only a total of 16.9% of board seats dedicated to women in 2013 versus 16.6% the year prior. The question is why.
Is it fair to blame it on the boys’ club…this persistent belief that men simply don’t get the value a woman offers at the conference table, and do whatever they can to keep the testosterone levels high? This as a factor probably has its place, but it’s likely not the whole story. Regardless, there is one thing for certain in today’s world: A call for change is being made. In fact, if you search the phrase ‘women in the boardroom,’ there are 8.5 million results, and almost the entirety of the first 3 or 4 pages are articles calling it a problem while insisting on greater equality.
Women, then, must be prepared to assume these roles when the opportunity presents. And, according to an in-depth study by Zenger|Folkman, the foremost authority in strengths-based leadership development, it just so happens that women are more effective leaders than their male counterparts. As revealed in A Study in Leadership: Women do it Better than Men, women are rated more positively on 12 of 16 characteristics most needed to be an effective leader.
Women have a natural propensity toward these characteristics. That’s a big deal thanks to a transition in management style away from the take-control approach of 10 to 20 years ago to one that emphasizes collaboration and leading by example. So, it’s fairly easy to see how women, by focusing their efforts on improving these 12 characteristics have better chances of making it into, and succeeding within, the walls of the boardroom.