In a corporate world dominated by men, and given today's fast-changing business environment--where flexibility and empathy are indispensable--women could turn out to be the winners. But when?
Men and women, by their very nature, tend to behave differently when facing the same circumstances. Although there are many situations where either's behavior may be more closely associated with the opposite gender, certain features have been scientifically determined to be more typical of one than of the other.
The abilities to be quiet and listen, to seek consensus, and to place oneself in another's shoes are more closely associated with femininity, while making quick decisions, finishing a task, and functioning in conflictive environments tend to be more masculine.
When it comes to leading a company, these differences become even more evident.
"Women feel less under pressure to have all the answers than men. And that enables them often to have more flexibility in the face of situations where there are no clear answers," professor Ronald Heifetz, founding director of the Center for Public Leadership of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, told Latin Trade. That's why many women "are a bit more predisposed towards adaptive contexts that require ongoing flexibility. And that also requires the orchestrating of multiple points of view from multiple parties in generating solutions."
Men, said Heifetz, often feel great pressure to finish the task quickly and, as a result, solve problems prematurely with solutions that are more technical than adaptive. "They are also more comfortable in conflict, while women, more cautious about preserving relationships, tend to avoid it," he added.
In an environment historically dominated by men, researchers and experts have found that feminine strengths, when put into practice in companies, create improvements in results.
This was highlighted in a study by Credit Suisse Research Institute published in 2016 that involved 3,000 of the world's largest companies.
The CS Gender 3000: The Reward for Change report, shows that when there is a majority of women in senior management, "the business shows higher growth in sales, cash flow, and return on investment, and less leverage."
The study, following up on one carried out in 2014, established that the market is prepared to pay a premium of 19% over book value for companies that have a woman CEO, and that such companies have a return on...