News & Views
Gender Matters in Leadership
Lorraine Murray on LinkedIn
This year the theme for International Women’s Day is “Choose to Challenge” and the Leadership team in SalesSense, like many organisations, has been reflecting on the progress we have made in creating a culture of belonging, where we not only allow our differences to exist but where they are supported, respected & celebrated. We know that our future success depends on us being a superb employer, encouraging our people to be their authentic selves and thus creating high performing, diverse teams that help set us apart from our competitors.
Research shows that organisations with gender-balanced leadership teams tend to perform better, however statistically there is a lack of women in senior leadership positions, and arguably the glass ceiling remains in place (Minelgaite and Edvardsson 2013). This perpetuates bias about the value and contributions of women in such roles. There is no easy answer, but to develop leadership identity, organisations must first look more deeply at their gender and diversity composition and choose to self-regulate from the executive team down. You can tell a lot about how an organisation is run by looking at the leadership page of its website. We are committed to ensuring that gender diversity and inclusion are not mere tick box exercises, but rather built into our culture to drive meaningful and impactful change.
Of course women can and do resist the forces of gender bias. By fighting against the dilemma of the “double bind” where the leadership styles that have served them in management should somehow be changed if they are to succeed at the top table (Ibarra et al. 2013), key female characteristics of friendliness, sympathy and empathy can be retained. The fact that general thinking has considered agreeableness to be the least important characteristic of leadership (Costa and McCrae 2012) may merely reflect that the research has been based on overwhelmingly male experiences. If women leaders are more agreeable than their male counterparts, this is not be something to change, but should be harnessed. Ironically in the future it may offer them competitive advantage in their career paths. Women can help drive positive change through leading by example and extending their networks to help educate and influence existing colleagues, paving a new path for future generations.
We are very proud of our female leaders in SalesSense and recognise the incredible impact they have on the dynamic and overall performance of our leadership team. We value authenticity and recognise the importance of having diverse perspectives. We appreciate the ability to balance hard and soft skills. We try to nurture what might be considered as typically feminine qualities like empathy and compassion because we know first-hand that they are some of the qualities that make the very best leaders.
We celebrate all of our women, all of their achievements, all their sacrifices, all their inspiration and all of their support. We are fortunate to be surrounded by so many impressive, talented, and inspiring women in SalesSense, who we can look up to and learn from.
Costa, P. and McCrae, R. (2012) The Five-Factor Model, Five-Factor Theory, and Interpersonal Psychology. Handbook of Interpersonal Psychology: Theory, Research, Assessment, and Therapeutic Interventions. 91-104.
Ibarra, H., Ely, R., and Kolb, D. (2013) ‘Women rising: The unseen barriers’, Harvard Business Review, 91(9), 1–16.
Minelgaite, I. and Edvardsson, I. R. (2013) ‘Gender , Nationality and Leadership Style : A Literature Review Gender’ International Journal of Business and Management; Vol. 8, No. 1Return to News & Events