Boss Lady

Creating the culture of leadership


Current business leaders need to create a culture of leadership development for the next generation of businesswomen and businessmen and to pave the way for a more positive future for women and gender equality in the workplace.

Companies need to implement more mentorship programs and leverage the women who can be positive role models for others along with developing and coaching team members, both male and female, so that everyone leads better regardless of gender.

We are all aware of the imbalanced representation of women in the workplace as western economies have, up until now, been driven by predominantly masculine leadership.

Only 22 per cent of seats on boards of Fortune 500 companies are held by women and in Australia. Women make up 47 per cent of Australia’s workforce and yet make up only five percent of CEOs and 20 percent of executive management in ASX 200 companies.

McCrindle Research study released in February this year, found 59 per cent  of employed Australians believe there is room for improvement when it comes to women in leadership and senior roles in our workplaces.

According to the study, Australians see one of the key factors holding back women’s equal representation in leadership roles is a lack of flexible working options (44 per cent  strongly or somewhat agreed in the McCrindle study).

Lack of support for women leaving the workplace for family reasons was also seen as a key factor (41 per cent agreed).

Gender equality is smart business for better company results. It makes sense to have more varied team members to create a balanced approach to decision making with analytical practical, experimental or relational approaches all included.

When we consider the history of male leadership, perhaps it has stemmed from our primal instincts and so a history of wars and the approach of aggression and drive to win the battles transferred into the workplace and company cultures.

I personally will celebrate more women leaders who operate from their centre of power and a place of wisdom in their leadership approach. In the past, I have been disappointed to see some female leaders modelling the male leadership traits to climb the corporate ladder.

I hope to see more female leaders operating from their centre of feminine power and wisdom to lead moving forward as to me that is the most inspiring feminine leadership.

When I consider how we can help the shift towards gender equality in the workplace there are a few things we can look for and change immediately in workplace procedures. Many organisations have already started changing approaches to ensure discrimination on gender doesn’t occur. It may be adjusting any pay gaps and setting compensation for roles regardless of gender or race or what they were previously paid. Another way to ensure jobs are chosen on merit is to have HR departments take names of resumes during the assessment process.

Providing training and development for all leaders is key to improve the  leadership and empowerment of both men and women and it has the other important benefit of improved performance and results for any company.

EY Global undertook a survey of 821 global business executives in 2013 and 84 per cent ranked the ability of their organisation to develop and manage high performing teams as a critical success factor for the business.

Here are four quick tips for leading your teams towards high performance:

Manage energy, not time

Managing energy and not time is a key to high performance as well as health and happiness. As leaders, we need to manage our own energy levels. This begins with our own health, creating a routine which incorporates fitness, meditation and relaxation time is key to being able to maintain high performance levels. Work-rest ratios lie at the centre of program design for elite athletes and is seen as key to their ability to perform at their peak, yet workplaces tend to ignore the concept of work-rest ratios. We live in a time of information overload, with fast-paced and relentless schedules where people try to cram as much as possible into every day. Employees are wired up but melting down. Workplace stress accounts for approximately 45% of all productivity issues and that figure is rising. Good leadership starts with managing yourself and then leading your team with a healthy diet, daily exercise and stress management. A corporate culture that supports and encourages time out to reset and recharge creates a healthy workforce that will not only reduce employee absenteeism but also improve productivity and performance.

Identify and harness clear purpose

The majority of people who are average performers are this way because they have no clear purpose. Ensuring there is clarity around the larger drivers for doing the daily tasks is key to high performance. Self-awareness and clarity of purpose invokes passion and drive in any task, therefore good leaders spend time both on their own self awareness and to ensure personal development for team members to identify and/or be reminded of their own purpose and that of the organisation. This ensures all team members are engaged with the company values.

Clear communication and engagement

Team engagement has a greater impact on performance than corporate policies or bonuses. Clear communication at all levels is crucial for good engagement with teams whether it’s to get feedback for strategic decisions, company values or weekly social events. Too many corporations are still following the top down management model and not only does it create silos amongst teams who feel isolated from different parts of the business, it also reduces the potential for better strategy and directions based on having all stakeholders included in feedback for decision-making.  Ensuring the structure is set up in your organisation to enable clear channels for communication and enabling feedback from all levels of the business . This creates a positive, engaged culture and more success with the implementation of new initiatives.

Introduce fun and laughter

In the push for results in our highly competitive economic climate, sometimes the importance of creating a positive, fun work environment is lost. We all know a positive culture results in higher performance, so as leaders it’s about leading this culture both with small breaks and more, ‘fun’ activities with your team. It may be a jog or walk in the sunshine, a game of football, a cooking workshop or if you can’t fit that into your schedule, maybe it’s just lifting the mood at the start or end of a meetings?

On days when your schedule is demanding and laughter isn’t feeling like an option, then it’s all about using the body to shift the mind. Research has shown that faking a smile is enough to shift our brain chemistry for the better, so maybe bring in some laughter yoga sessions into your workplace – or even just a pencil between your teeth. Forcing a smile can be enough to get those endorphins moving to shift your own mindset so you can get that positive energy back out to your team.

Edwina also runs healing retreats

On May 3-5, Edwina, who is also a qualified shamanic healer, will take 16 women to a 1,000 acre property in the NSW Snowy Mountains (near Jindabyne) at the top of Barney’s Range for one of her trademark three-day healing retreats.

As well as being the perfect setting to re-connect with mind, body and soul (and a perfect Mother’s Day present!), participants will combine healthy eating, exercise, meditation and ceremony with three days of healing, health and connection.

About Edwina Griffin'

Edwina Griffin (Eddie) is a Health and High Performance expert with over 20 years’ experience in health and human performance. She does keynotes on stress management and mind-body connection, workshops and retreats on meditation (on and off-site) and leadership for corporations, as well as her public healing retreats. She focuses on the interconnection and balance of our body, mind and soul for the benefit of the individual and for the culture and performance of an organisation. As the founder of Your Energy Evolution, Fitwomen, Fitmum and Adventurewomen her programs provide simple, cost-effective ways to transform your body, mind and energy and enable you to operate at your peak level. Edwina runs healing retreats (including at Sydney, the Snowy Mountains and the Sunshine Coast), mindfulness, meditation and stress management courses for corporates, groups and individuals, personal development sessions, Fitmum programs, sound healing sessions and is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Shamanic Practitioner. She has a degree in Social Sciences and qualifications as a Corrective and Exercise Kinesiologist, Lifestyle Coach, Personal Trainer, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Energetic Healer, Advanced Shamanic Practitioner, Sound Healing Practitioner, Meditation Facilitator, nationally accredited mediator and is currently studying her Masters in Negotiation. Eddie has received numerous accolades and awards and has featured as the host and expert advisor on many television programs, talkback radio, magazine and newspaper articles and online mind-body programs. She won the NSW Exercise Professional of the Year in 2010 in the prestigious Australian Health and Fitness Industry Awards and has won several business awards. As an internationally recognised speaker, mentor and healer, Eddie has coached thousands of clients in achieving their personal goals and is passionate about giving back to the community through her involvement in a number of charity and business related organisations.

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