How Women in Leadership Can Create Win-Wins

Creating Win-Wins for Companies and Women

In many companies, women are not advancing. This is despite the extensive research showing that more women in leadership positions equals higher company profits and a more competitive organization. At each level of an organization, women dwindle in numbers, leading to a lack of gender balance on top leadership teams.

 

If women make up less than 25% of an applicant pool, they are more likely to be negatively evaluated.

 

As a CEO who advocates and appreciates diversity, a new book by Joelle K. Jay and Howard Morgan intrigued me. The New Advantage: How Women in Leadership Can Create Win-Wins for Their Companies and Themselves doesn’t just talk about the challenge but also provides women ideas and tools to advance. Their research is based on interviews with hundreds of senior executives.

I recently spoke with the authors about their work in creating win-win situations for companies and women.

 

“Executive presence is the degree to which others perceive you to be a leader.” –Morgan & Jay

 

Howard J. Morgan and Joelle K. Jay, PhD, of the Leadership Research Institute (LRI) are co-authors of THE NEW ADVANTAGE:  How Women in Leadership Can Create Win-Wins for Their Companies and Themselves (Praeger / 2016).  LRI is a global consulting firm specializing in leadership and organizational development.  Morgan has worked with over 1,000 CEO and executive team members of the world’s largest organizations on improving corporate and executive performance.  Jay is an executive coach and keynote speaker and specializes in the advancement of executive women.

 

The Unique Problems Women Face in Leaders

What are some of the problems women uniquely face in the workforce?

We have worked with some of the largest organizations in the world. Based on our experience, and several major reports, companies with the highest representation of women in senior management positions are shown to perform the best. Research reports that companies with more women:

  • Are more profitable (18-69%)
  • Are more competitive (25%)
  • Are more effective because they demographically reflect the market (83%).

In balanced leadership teams of men and women, women tend to bring fresh perspectives and ideas, talent and experience, and that leads to better decision-making.

The problem is despite all of those advantages, we found they are persistently underrepresented in senior levels of leadership. Women currently hold only 4.0% of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies, according to the Catalyst research organization Catalyst.

 

Research: Companies with women are up to 69% more profitable.

 

Companies Benefit When Women Are in Leadership

What are some of the advantages companies experience when more women are represented in leadership? 

Companies that attract and develop executive women gain amazing benefits related to profitability, productivity and performance. Some areas include increased revenues, greater innovation, increased employee engagement, higher productivity, better financial performance, global competitive advantage, and stronger leadership.

Companies benefit from the increased financial performance associated with a balanced leadership team, beating their competition by up to a third.

 

Research: Companies with a balanced leadership team beat the competition by up to a third.

 

What barriers do women face today?

The New AdvantageThe women we’ve spoken with and worked with report a wide range of issues. Perhaps the biggest barrier is a lack of awareness on the part of their companies about what stops women from advancing and how to increase the number of women in senior level and executive leadership positions.

There are a number of obstacles that have prevented the integration of women into the highest levels of leadership. First, change takes time. Second, few role models exist for women at the top. Third, we are still learning about the barriers that prevent women from breaking into C-level leadership. Two of the biggest breakthroughs in recent research for the advancement of women to leadership positions are executive presence and sponsorship. These have only become prevalent topics of research in recent years. And in reality, until recently the business culture has evolved around a predominance of men as leaders, and characteristics associated with successful leadership are still aligned with more masculine traits.

 

“Women who want to succeed to higher levels of leadership have to take the lead.” –Morgan & Jay

 

Take Control of Your Future

How to Develop Your Inner Edge

 

“If you want to be your best, you need to build on what’s brilliant about you.” -Joelle Jay

 

Leading On the Edge

Dr. Joelle K. Jay is an expert in personal leadership.  She has coached executives in numerous companies, written several books and numerous articles, and is a principle with the Leadership Research Institute, a global leadership development firm.

Reading Dr. Jay’s new book, The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership, I felt like I had hired a personal leadership coach.  She shares practices and principles that are enduring.  I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions to introduce her thinking to you.

 

“Better leadership equals better results – higher profits, bigger market share and a global advantage.” -Joelle Jay

 

What does it mean to lead on the edge?

“Leading on the edge” is about challenging ourselves to take the leadership position in our own lives – pushing ourselves not to sit back and hope for things to happen but getting out in front and making them happen with our own intent and effort.

 

“Most true happiness comes from one’s inner life.” -William Shirer

 

What are some of the benefits of mastering personal leadership?

I believe that everyone is a leader – if not the leader of a team or a company, at the very least the leader of his or her own life.  Strong companies have learned that better leadership equals better results – higher profits, bigger market share and a global advantage.  Personal leadership helps us get the results we want for ourselves – a more fulfilling career, a more rewarding experience, a happier life.

TheInnerEdge_CoverYour book outlines ten practices of personal leadership.  Let’s discuss a few of them. The first is “get clarity.”  How do you help leaders understand who they are and where they want to go?

I recently heard a speaker say, “Clarity is everything. Confusion is the enemy.”  In our fractured and distracted world, leaders need to learn to cut through the noise to hear their own voice.  They do this by asking themselves powerful questions – chief among them, “What do I want?”  When leaders can get clear about what they want, they can outline the steps to get there.

 

Tap Into Your Brilliance

I love “Tap into your brilliance” because I am often amazed at people’s strengths.  How does a leader encourage an environment where everyone is operating in the strong zone?

 

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” -Confucius

 

When leaders learn to leverage their strengths, they positively burst into action. Suddenly their efforts are infused with energy as they discover they can finally do things their way – the way that comes naturally to them and the way they do them best.  That has a contagious quality, so strengths-based leaders are naturally encouraged by their own successes to help the people around them – their managers, direct reports, their teams – to organize their activities around the strengths in the group.  It’s a more satisfying experience for everyone – but more than that, it’s also far more effective.

“See possibility” is another practice.  One technique you call is “Let it be easy.”  Would you elaborate on this practice for us?