The business environment is materially changing from the economics of the ‘80s and ‘90s and the 20th century. The fundamentals of accepted business practice was based on competition, which then influenced business vision, strategy and decision-making. Businesses were built like machines with various silos each fulfilling its own function.
The change brought about in the 21st century and especially in recent years requires businesses to be nimble and agile, both responding to rapid change and capable of anticipating what the next shift will be. They need to respond to complex, wicked problems with systemic solutions. Business leaders who will be successful will be those who can ride the wave of this
increasingly changing world, harnessing the benefits of technology and new societal attitudes. They will be those that know how to embrace collaborative relationships and be prepared to be radical in their thinking to build organisations that are nimble and can thrive on uncertainty and ambiguity. These leaders will operate beyond their ego, being humble enough to continue personal development and learning. Business leaders that are able to embed authentic, ethical and emotionally intelligent behaviours into the DNA of the organisation they lead, whilst building strong, empathetic and collaborative relationships within the organisation and with all stakeholders, with all this based on a performance-enhancing culture that provides sustainability.
More and more companies now recognise that collaborative, rather than competitive behaviour creates more success. This means that women are well placed to lead in this century and are actually needed to lead more than every before. Research clearly indicates that women have all the right attributes including empathy, change catalyst and inspirational leadership. There are also a number of reports ( like Cranfield, 2016) that demonstrate that companies with women on the Board of Directors, actually perform better, as the thought diversity is what will give a company the edge to perform better.
With Emotional Intelligence (EI) being the bases of the leadership needed in the 21st Century, various research articles indicate that women fare better in the vast majority of the components that make up emotional intelligence. While men seem to be stronger in areas related to Emotional Self-control, Self-confidence and Accurate Self-Assessment, women fared better in all the remaining EI components including Service Orientation, Developing Others, being a Change Catalyst, Transparency, Empathy and Inspiring others.
Good business leadership set and influence the culture in any business organisation, which in turn effects performance. More than ever before, business leaders need to model the behaviours they expect to see in others. This quote form Tolstoy is very apt:
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” Due to their natural disposition towards various integral components of emotional intelligence, women are best poised as being true role models of transformational leadership in the today’s turbulent world.