Think of two men and two women in leadership. Was it difficult? There is a high probability that it was easier to come up with two male leaders because there are far fewer women in leadership than men. A study from Grant Thornton (2014) shows that women globally hold only 24% of the leadership roles. This is a very disappointing fact if you think of the improvement in emancipation in the last years. Men and women have different qualities and characteristics but both are capable to be in leadership. It is important to have diversity in a team, also diversity in gender. That is why the thesis statement of this essay is:
There should be more diversity in managements to guarantee more success for the team.
This essay will discuss the importance of more diversity in managements, the positive addition of women to managements and how more diversity can be achieved will be scrutinized validated by academic sources, statistical data and examples.
Women have qualities and characteristics that men do not have
First of all, Associate professor Dr. Pallavi Mehta and Research Scholar Ms. Khushboo Sharma (2014) call strong qualities of women that men have much less but are useful for a leader. Firstly, women are more persuasive because of their strong people skills. Secondly, women leaders are very good in learning from adversity and carry on and prove them wrong. Men have more resilience but women have stronger interpersonal skills and are more assertive whereby women can deal with rejection or disappointment. Thirdly, women have a special leadership style regarding team building, which is useful with problem solving and decision-making. Finally, this study has shown that women take more risks because they ignore the rules. Instead of following the rules they come up with creative solutions. According to Bass, B.M., and Avolio, B.J. (1994), women are more open with colleagues and encourage that more people are involved in decision-making. Women are also more caring about their contributors than men. This study concludes that women handle a more transformational leadership style and men are more transactional. This means that women are more effective and satisfying leaders and men are better in mediating. If you combine transformational and transactional leadership in a management, you have both strengths.
Of course, it is true that men also have the qualities and characteristics to be a good leader but there are already enough men in leadership. A study from Grant Thornton (2014) shows that 76% of all top posts is held by men globally. In the Netherlands this number is even higher, men hold 90% of the leadership roles in the Netherlands. Both men and women have the qualities and characteristics to hold a management position. Therefore, women should get an equal chance of being admitted to a management.
There are many possibilities for companies to get more women in leadership
The study from Grant Thornton (2014) also showed that not enough companies are doing something with the less diversity in managements. Besides quotas for the proportion of women in leadership in the European Union, there are actions that companies could take to increase the number of women in leadership. The first action is to improve coaching women. Only 24% of companies globally run a programme right now to increase women’s leadership. Saskia Kortsmit, procurement manager at Johnson & Johnson, told in the interview with Strunk, A.C. (2015) that such a programme could work out well. Johnson & Johnson’s programme is called Procurement Women Leadership Initiative (PWLI) and this is a programme to increase the awareness, understanding and respect for differences between men and women. It gives the employees of Johnson & Johnson the opportunity to discuss this topic. The programme provides events and presentations to openly discuss the topic and find solutions. The gender-balance at Johnson & Johnson is nearly 50/50 which indicates that the program works. The second action called in the study from Grant Thornton (2014) is to relieve the childcare trouble. Women have difficulties with their family-work balance and often find childcare too expensive. 18% of companies globally already provide childcare vouchers which make childcare cheaper. Another possibility is to increase salary, which ensures that working remains financially interesting. 16% of companies provide a salary increase for childcare on this moment. 6% of the companies provide on-site childcare; this is a facility to have childcare next to your work. It is clear, in view of the statistics, that a lot of companies globally can do more to relieve the childcare troubles of their employees. The last action companies can take is to hire more female graduates. Now, only 21% of the hired graduates are women. When companies hire more female graduates this will help remove the current male bias. The number of companies doing something to solve the problem of the less diversity in managements is, as you can see, very low. This should be much higher, that is why companies need to invest in more diversity in managements.
On the other hand, it can be really expensive for companies to invest in more women in leadership. For example, running a programme or help with childcare is very expensive. But at the same time, those investments make it possible to get more diversity in their company. And according to Meredith Belbin, diversity in managements provides better performances and therefore more sales in the long term (Belbin, M., February 9, 2011).
Diversity enriches a team and produce better business performance
Hoogendoorn, S., Oosterbeek, H., & van Praag, M. (2011) did a field experiment to measure the impact of women in business teams on their performance. The most important finding of their study is that women have impact on the business outcomes of a team. Team performances are the highest when the share of women is about 55%. Diverse teams perform better than men-dominated or women-dominated teams. An explanation for this is that mutual monitoring is higher in diverse teams than in homogeneous teams, with mutual monitoring is the pressure to perform greater. It must be said that in this study women and men are equally qualified. So, a team performs best when there are enough women in the team who are equally qualified as the men in the team. Also Dr. Meredith Belbin, who is an authority in the field of team working and the creator of the model ‘Belbin’s teamroles’, confirmed that diverse teams with mixed genders perform better (Belbin, M., February 9, 2011). Belbin has observed teams with all men and saw that they are susceptible for macho-competitive habits and focusing on one goal. Teams with only women were prone to lose a central focus and they are sensitive with personal matters. Belbin have become convinced that there are good, psychobiological, reasons for recommending diverse teams. The advantage lies in the different way of priority setting. According to Belbin, a diverse team enriches the ability to manage the complex and changing world we are living in.
The conclusion of this essay is that there should be more diversity in managements because diversity guarantees more success for the team. To start with the fact that women are very capable to be in leadership and even have qualities and characteristics that men do not have. Besides that, companies do have possibilities to get more diversity in managements but do not take actions right now. The last argument is that diversity enriches a team and creates better business performance.
Of course, men also have the qualities and characteristics to be a good leader but there are already a lot of men in managements. Because diversity is important, women should get an equal chance of being admitted to the management. It is also true that it is a big investment for companies to invest in more diversity in managements but diversity in managements provides better performance and therefore more sales in the long term. So companies should see it as a good investment. To guarantee more success for managements, it is clear that diversity in managements is needed. That is why the word managements should be changed in (wo)managements. Perhaps that the word cannot be changed but change in the system is definitely possible.