Let’s face it: lots of people are in leadership positions who really shouldn’t be. Just having a leadership position doesn’t make someone a leader. Being a true leader means being someone who can inspire, respect, and look out for their team members while also acting in the best interests of the organization. Organizational leadership is a balancing act that’s difficult to master, but it can help businesses grow and retain talent.
In many organizations, there is still a dearth of women in leadership roles — and it’s time for that to change. Obviously, both men and women can make good leaders — and more women need to be given the chance to succeed in these roles. Here are seven reasons we need more women leaders to inspire America’s workforce.
1. Inspire Younger Women
Gone are the days when women didn’t work outside of the home except in secretarial or teaching roles. Old power dynamics are beginning to shift in a big way, and the young women who make up a large portion of the workforce need to have positive role models to look up to. Without these role models, many young women won’t be able to imagine themselves in a leadership role one day.
2. We’re All Equal?
For a long time, American culture has insisted that men and women ARE equal in the workplace. When you look at the numbers, however, you see that there is a disproportionately small number of women in leadership positions.
Women earn around 60% of undergraduate and master’s degrees, and yet at S&P 500 companies, where they make up 44% of the labor force, they hold only 25% of executive and senior level leadership roles. Just 6% of CEOs at these organizations are women. It’s time for our society to take the next step and fix those numbers by putting more women into leadership roles. It’s easy to talk the talk, but now it’s time to walk the walk.
3. Women and the Importance of EQ for Leadership
Emotional intelligence encompasses many of the desirable “soft skills” companies need to succeed. The emotional quotient (EQ) is essential for effective leadership, and was found to be four times more important than IQ when predicting future success. Women tend to have a high EQ due to their natural grasp on emotions and interpersonal communication, and can use these skills to better understand themselves and their employees.
4. Women Leaders Are Great For the Bottom Line
It’s very surprising that women are still routinely passed over for leadership roles when you consider just how much money companies could make by bringing more qualified women into these positions. In one recent study, researchers found that the 25 firms with the highest percentage of women in executive roles and on their boards had median returns on assets and equity that were a minimum of 74% higher than the overall companies studied. What company wouldn’t want more women leaders with numbers like those?
5. Women Are Just as Qualified
Back in the middle of the 20th century, women weren’t often given the opportunity to develop the necessary skills and education they would need to become qualified leaders. Today, this is fortunately no longer the case. Many women are now just as qualified as their male colleagues to take on leadership positions, and sometimes, more qualified.
6. Diversity Leads to Better Business
Innovation doesn’t happen when everyone in an organization has the same background and similar patterns of thought. Diversity is important for everything from innovation to retaining the best talent. Once again, the numbers don’t lie: companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 21% more likely than companies in the bottom quartile to have better-than-average profitability.
7. Women are More Likely to Advance Their Learning
Although both men and women try to improve and learn early in their careers, men are more likely to plateau at a certain point. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to continue advancing their skills and invest time in self-development of their own volition. Continuous improvement makes a big difference in long-term effectiveness, and makes women into great leaders.
Women in Leadership Positions: A No-Brainer
Aside from the fact that equality in the workplace just makes sense, there are so many logical reasons companies should want more women in high-level leadership positions. Their skills, emotional intelligence, and drive help them to inspire their teams and improve the organizations they work for. Want to be more successful? Put more women at the top.