Boss Lady

Year of the Female Leader


The concept of gender balance is now firmly on the agenda for proactive businesses this year. Finally they have realised that including women in leadership roles is a great business move. More and more researchers are finding that better gender balance equals better financial performance. And as we move towards examining the situation in the lead-up to International Women’s Day, it’s worth considering some of the evidence.

The statistics

  • Studies have shown that companies with a leadership balance between men and women achieve better financial results.
  • Companies with more women on senior leadership teams outperform financial results of comparable companies with fewer women by an average of 30%.
  • Teams with a male–female ratio between 40 and 60 percent produce results that are more sustained and predictable than those of unbalanced teams.

There is a great business case for the inclusion of women at senior levels. Clever organisations are actively seeking out and offering development opportunities to talented females who have leadership potential, and they are developing leadership programs to nurture emerging female leaders.

Developing female leaders

While the decision to increase the numbers of women in leadership roles makes sense according to the numbers, there are still a number of hurdles to be overcome before we see real change. We’re talking about a cultural shift here, and that doesn’t happen easily.

And it’s not just a mind shift for men; women need to see themselves differently, and learn to value their own special brand of skills. Instead of seeing the feminine ‘soft skills’ as a barrier to career progress, we need to recognise and develop them as the key component to organisational balance.

When you’ve equated success with the masculine-skilled role model of leadership, it requires quite a mind shift for women to see themselves at the top. Their more consultative style can appear to be weak. Their social involvement can appear to be nothing but chat. Their empathy can appear to lead to unbalanced judgement. These are the very skills that have been missing at leadership levels for generations, and they are exactly the skills that will make the difference in the financial and team health of the organisation.  Yet, women themselves often struggle to accept that.

EmpowHERing our female leaders

Realising that women can be as much a barrier to their own success as anyone else, LeadershipHQ magazine has created the EmpowHER program to help women discover their own leadership potential and recognise the value they bring to their organisations.

We help women assess their own strengths and build on them, and see why those skills are so important in the leadership role. We help them perfect the networking skills which are such a key part of the way women work, and which will build such a strong foundation for their businesses.  We help them find the confidence to stand proudly as a female leader, comfortable in her unique skills and approach.

Our EmpowHER Program gives women the capability and confidence to become the leaders they want to be.

We believe that 2015 is the year of the female leader. Give women the power to develop their own style of leadership and they will give business the competitive edge it has been looking for.

About Sonia McDonald

Sonia McDonald, Director of LeadershipHQ, is a thought leader, consultant, full time single mum and dynamic speaker and writer. Internationally recognised as an expert in leadership and strategy, organisational development and neuroscience, Sonia is an engaging writer who inspires as she educates. Sonia’s key focus is on the strategies behind successful business and leadership. Her articles and blogs are both fun and informative. Taking a neuroscience approach, Sonia shows how the power of the human brain can become the driver for business and team success, pushing your business to achieve and surpass organisational objectives. She has also just launched her amazing EmpowHER program which is taking Australia by storm and building leadership capability and confidence for women across the nation.

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