How Women are Changing the FACE of Leadership

WomensDayToday is International Women’s Day and an opportunity to reflect on the unique contribution of women and certainly to reach out and acknowledge and thank the women who have made a difference in your life or career or business.

Since I often get asked how women are changing the face of leadership, today seemed like the right time to write about it.  I used the acronym FACE.

F = Freedom and Flexibility.  Women are free to pursue their own unique path through life and make the required trade offs—and with far less judgment from others than was the case when I was “growing up” in business.  This, in turn, has resulted in greater flexibility for men and women in choosing the roles they are best suited for at home and at work.  We’re OK with the dads who want to stay home to raise the kids and the moms who need to work.  It took awhile to get here and lots of women pushing that agenda.

A = Acknowledgement, Acceptance and Advocacy.  Women have been acknowledged as effective leaders, albeit with a distinctly different style than men.  That style is marked by increased empathy and greater participation—and let’s face it, that’s good for everyone.  We now accept women in leadership positions and it’s not so unusual any more; in fact, there are many women and men who are advocates for more parity and more equality – in pay, in executive leadership and on boards.  We will have a long way to go but the issue has far more awareness and far more support than ever before.

C = Collaboration.  Having been excluded in the past, women are more inclined to be inclusive and to gain ideas and insights from a variety of perspectives, leading to greater collaboration.  The ability to collaborate effectively has become one of the most significant requirements in working in today’s complex, fast-paced, global business world.  Women are naturals at this.

E = Expectations, Excellence, Empathy, Encouragement.  Lots of E words work here. We see rising expectations of what women can contribute, while they raise the overall level of excellence.  And their leadership style is often marked by greater empathy for others and encouragement for continuous improvement, overcoming obstacles, mistakes and failures to ultimately succeed.

True, there are still many challenges that women face on the way to gaining parity in leadership numbers—and compensation.  But today is a day to pause and reflect on the progress.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

#women #leadership #internationalwomensday