Women-led organizations These analyses perhaps establish that being female-led provides countries as well as organisations with an advantage. Having put that premise in a definite context, let me know proceed to talk about five key communication mantras for women in India Inc

On International Women’s Day, Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Meta expressed the view that no two countries run by women would ever go to war.

So, how true is that? I am not competent to ascertain the historical veracity of that claim but when you extend that analogy to the business world, most, if not all will accept that assertion. For one, in a hostile situation women are less likely to be confrontational. They are more likely to be conciliatory and willing to give conversation a chance. Second, they don’t give up in the face of adversity; they will always be looking for ways to find a solution to a problem.

To be sure, I don’t think beyond a point too much can be made out of leadership traits on the basis of gender; it is about individual attributes. But most psychological surveys point in this direction, hence it’s hard to shake off.

In particular, I want to cite a Harvard Business Review survey conducted in mid-2020 that assessed 454 men and 366 women on leadership effectiveness. The survey rated women more positively with 13 of 19 competencies in the HBR assessment that comprise overall leadership effectiveness.

Let me quote an excerpt from this survey verbatim because it is so germane to what we are discussing. “Respondents put greater importance on interpersonal skills, such as “inspires and motivates”, “communicates powerfully”, “collaboration/teamwork”, and “relationship building”, all of which women were rated higher on.”

According to an earlier Pew Research Center survey on women and leadership, most Americans found women indistinguishable from men on key leadership traits such as intelligence and capacity for innovation. Still, in both business and politics, majority say “…women are better than men when it comes to being compassionate and empathetic, and substantial shares say women are better at working out compromises and standing up for what they believe in.”

Compassion and empathy are qualities that make for better, more organised leaders. Those are qualities that we need in post-pandemic times. You want leaders who understand what peers and colleagues are going through in their personal and professional lives. And women tend to be much better at offering comfort and solace to soothe ruffled feelings.

What is more, the pandemic has revealed that women tend to perform better in a crisis. There has been regular reportage in the media that countries led by women-among them New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Germany, and Taiwan, among others-generally fared better in the worst phase of the pandemic than other nations.

An analysis of 194 countries published by the Centre for Economic Policy Research and the World Economic Forum suggests the difference is real and “may be explained by the proactive and coordinated policy responses” adopted by female leaders. Women leaders were risk averse when it came to saving lives, but conversely were more willing than male leaders to take risks in the domain of the economy.

These analyses perhaps establish that being female-led provides countries as well as organisations with an advantage. Having put that premise in a definite context, let me know proceed to talk about five key communication mantras for women in India Inc.

Inspire and motivate

Find a mentor. Let me be more specific. Find a woman mentor. It helps hone your abilities and find skills that will help you ascend to leadership roles. Accomplished women are willing to share lessons they have learned. Providing opportunities for other talented and motivated women professionals to learn, grow and thrive means a lot to women leaders.

Effective communication

If there is one quality that unites good leaders it is effective communication skills. To inspire and motivate a large group of people, you need to have the qualities of a charismatic speaker. Women, studies reveal, are more eloquent speakers because they desist from hyperbole and look more for an emotional connect with people. Also, communication is not just about speaking fluently, it is equally about the ability to read and write well, and being a patient, active listener. They also bring a transparency to their communication that helps aspiring leaders gain clarity.

Collaboration and teamwork

Every organisation will talk about the importance of teamwork and collaboration. Few walk the talk. A 2013 survey in the US confirmed that women are more drawn to collaboration than men. In fact, the only problem with women is likely to be over-collaborative tendencies. But that may be somewhat an overstated concern. Collaboration means gathering all points of view and then following your leadership instinct to take a decision. Women are naturally inclined towards this process.


Without good relationships with colleagues life at the top can be extremely lonesome. Women are known to value relationships and value teams. Good interpersonal skills will help you reach the top because you will have team members rooting for you. Business skills are essential for professional success but they can come up a cropper without strong relationships in the organisation and with your key stakeholders. Good networks give you easy access to timely information which make for better and more informed decision-making. A woman has the analytical skills to prioritise relationships over transactions, while not losing sight of the importance of that transaction.

Compassion and empathy

Recent research conducted in the US reveals that empathy and compassion top the list of qualities great leadership requires. Empathy, the research conducted by non-profit Catalyst underlines, allows these leaders to create connections with colleagues, helping organisations in prodigious, though hard to quantify, ways. While willing to make tough calls, women have more empathy for people around them. They don’t only give feedback when it’s negative, or correctional. They articulate the corrective but never ignore the opportunity to praise and applaud.

In conclusion, both data and anecdotal evidence suggest that women are more likely to seize the initiative and inspire and motivate their teams, value diversity of opinion and take decisions that value the individual and concern for their well-being. Recent studies also show that women score higher in taking initiative and markedly higher in driving for results.

Why, then, we have to ask ourselves, are more women not there at leadership positions? When will that change? How soon will that change?

Deepshikha Kumar is Founder and CEO with Singapore-based SpeakIn Communications.

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