Recently, a tweet caught my attention. It was finally official. Women on boards boost business. I wish I knew this earlier in my career. For many years, I believed that I had to think like a man in order to be successful. I even gave a terribly wrong advice to young aspiring female leaders.
The effect of diversity
A tweet from Lisbeth Fransplass directed me to a study presented by the index provider MSCI. 1.643 companies had been analyzed. The findings showed a 36% higher return on equity, when MSCI compared organizations with strong female leadership with organizations without women at the most senior levels.
The results made me very happy and I let my shoulders down. The study does not show why these companies have some stronger financial results, but it addresses the importance of diversity when it comes to innovation and decision making. (Source: www.weforum.org)
I do not know these women’s leadership style. Hopefully, the women have stayed true to their female values and way of thinking. I am not saying that there is only one stereotype of female leadership and another male style, but it looks like diversity gives results!
At an earlier stage in my career, I was convinced that I had to – think, react and make decisions like a man. I do not mean wearing a suit and tie and pee standing ;). But in my mind, I tried to copy the male leaders I was surrounded by and read about.
I joined a mentor program and picked the most senior executive male mentor. He was great! But the problem is, that I did not even consider to talk the female mentors on the program. I read books to get career advice. Some of them stated:
- Think like a man, act like a lady
- Don’t talk with high-pitched voice
- Dress like this, not like that
- Don’t put on lipstick in public
- Don’t say – Thank you, too often
- Don’t be emotional or express vulnerable feelings
Do you think that is good advice?
At that time, this was my delusion. I even gave the same advice to younger women. – Think like a man, and you will be successful! If high profiled women were riding storms in media, I would, easily, put her in the bitch box. Would I have done the same if it was a man? Probably not! Today, I easily admit it. I am ashamed and embarrassed of my narrow thinking.
Fortunately, my own experience, new role models and changes in my life lead me onto a new path! I will share this change in my mindset, in the next blog post. Stay tuned!
Have a great Saturday!
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My goal with this blog is to inspire, share knowledge, thoughts and my personal experience, when it comes to women in leadership!
Photo: Stian Schioldborg, Magenta studios