A study by Development Dimensions International, 2014 argues that there is no significant difference between men and women business leaders in terms of their leadership skills. But, nevertheless, women leaders are underrepresented at the C-level management. What are the “objective reasons” for that?
One of the few differences between genders is the level of confidence. Male business leaders considered themselves to be more effective leaders against females. In the background study, women business leaders indicated they were inferior to men in terms of:
• number of foreign assignments (positions outside the country of residence)
• management of international teams (located in different countries)
• management of geographically dispersed teams in the country.
Business leaders who have experience in these more “visible” leadership positions have been promoted more often and faster in their organizations. The number of men and women is approximately equal on planet Earth. In 2015 business world is still dominated by male leaders. Increasing the proportion of female business leaders in organizations leads to diversity in thinking and business ideas, which improves the quality of problem-solving and business outcome. Among top 20% of surveyed companies, criteria financial performance, women business leaders constitute 37% of the C-management personnel. Among bottom 20% by financial indicators, women business leaders are only 19% of the C-management personnel. (See Chart 1. Women leaders among top and bottom companies, criteria financial perfomance)
Chart 1. Women leaders among top and bottom companies, criteria financial perfomance
Conclusion and Recommendations on Promoting Women Business Leaders
The conclusion is to increase the proportion of women business leaders to achieve higher financial performance. The study examined three factors that favor the development of women business leaders:
- Provide them with information on the competencies that they have to develop in order to succeed as business leaders
- Have a written plan for leadership development
- Mentoring program to accelerate the development and build women’s self-esteem (1)
Implementation in practice of these three instruments is a two way process and can be initiated both by women aspiring to high leadership positions, and the management bodies of companies.