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  • Rahul Guha

3 traits of woman leaders that have inspired me

I recount two-woman bosses who I worked with, in my early career, get maximum credit for shaping me into what I am today. I confess, that I was pushed, beaten but taught how to gain self-confidence, brush off fear and take bold strides in life under women leaders. Today, hiring managers chase audacious targets to build diversity in the workforce. This remains an important agenda for business reviews in most of the evolved organizations. Unfortunately, we had to run “agenda” just to have 10% of women in jobs out of a total female population equivalent to half of the Indian population.

India still needs to catch-up with the world in engaging and trusting woman leaders to take the realm of business. Forbes (catalyst) data shows businesses run by women are more productive as they generate 42% more sales, get 53% improvement in ROI and 66% better return on capital. If diversity comes with so many positivises, what makes us hesitate to hire more female managers? The companies that have a focus on diversity, hold a better chance to score high in business. Lets’ diversity percentage in the workforce be a criterion before for pick your next assignment.

If you are fortunate to be working with a women leader, these traits as I narrated below might help you to leverage your career as it did for me.

1. They do not give up easily – it is seen most of the female leaders have a strong sense of fear of failure, they mostly do not accept defeat easily and pursue till the objective is met. This becomes more relevant when businesses face challenge with new ideas, markets or differentiated products. One needs to have plenty of patience to continue trials to establish the brand and win customer confidence. The lesson of perseverance and courage to reach the goal were taught to me by my superior female leaders. I remember in my first job with a hotel, in Kolkata, business was stalled from turning around due to stiff resistance from the union.

It was unlikely that a female leader will face the wrath of the union, I had reservations to have my boss negotiate with them. She stood her ground, and we could pacify union aggression in a few weeks to roll out a compete plan to facelift the hotel. I have learned to have pertinence & pursue my agenda without being discouraged, from her. This is an important trait of a leader. If you get an opportunity to learn it first-hand, please be prudent to adopt it.

2. They have more balanced approach – Most of the women’s transit to adulthood & family life takes different route than man. Hope most of you will agree on the quantum of responsibility any woman shoulders to run domestic affairs that hardly men can do. Above all, many women have excelled in career and earned higher compensation and status. Still, they stay grounded. I have not seen women lacking empathy and compassion. They balance the team fairly and always nurture them like a family.

This is one attribute which all leaders should have, irrespective of gender. It is important that the leader absorbs and decipher the heat amongst the team in a manner that minds do not get blown. The balanced approach integrates aggression, reactions, and empathy to go along with the team, where everyone is rewarded. This trait is mostly prevalent with women leaders and that makes them more successful in the business world.