As women have taken on greater leadership roles in the business world, it’s paid off for both them and business.
A study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that firms with women in the C-suite were more profitable. Meanwhile, the number of female-owned businesses grew 45 percent from 2007 to 2016 compared to just a 9 percent growth in the number of businesses overall.
But will all those women in leadership roles change the workplace culture to make it more female friendly—and does it matter?
The power of culture
As a corporate anthropologist, I’m aware of the recent shift in thinking surrounding how cultures should be restructured in order for women to thrive in the workplace. This has caused me to ask: What type of culture do women really want and is it that different from what men want, too?
The results of my research were surprising.
So what lessons does that hold for women who start their own businesses or are hired or promoted into leadership positions in existing businesses?
3 things for female leaders to do
Based on my personal experiences, and what I’ve learned from female business leaders I’ve interviewed, some of the ways women can succeed when leading an organization and make the workplace more attentive to the needs of both men and women include:
1) Create a culture that blends work and home.
I talked with the founder of one company that intentionally took a whole-life approach and didn’t force employees to choose between work and family. That company won all sorts of local awards for being one of the best places to work in the area.
2) Encourage staff to be innovators.
Often even the employees who think outside the box are reluctant to act outside the box for fear of repercussions if things don’t work out quite the way they hoped. But for innovation to happen, a good leader needs to empower employees to try new ideas.
3) Be an adventurer, stay curious.
If you expect your employees to try new ideas, you need to be willing to do so as well. Don’t worry about failing. Keep tinkering and trying stuff and sooner or later you’ll hit upon your a-ha moment.
My research shows that the females who know how to create success are not just building better businesses; they are changing the way people work.
The corporate cultures in women-run businesses reflect the personal beliefs and values of the women leading them, and those businesses tend to be highly successful.
What’s been your experience running or working in a women-run business?
Andi Simon, today’s guest contributor and the author of On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights, is a corporate anthropologist and award-winning author. She is the founder and CEO of Simon Associates Management Consultants, a public speaker, an Innovation Games facilitator and trainer, and a tenured professor of anthropology and American studies at Ramapo College of New Jersey.
Image credit: Pixabay