Women Can Lead The Post-Pandemic World

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By Fred Dawson,

Author, Entrepreneur

 Voluminous research proves that women focus on solutions, not politics.  And in our politically charged world, solutions will be needed to adapt to the post-COVID world. 

In a recent U.S. News & World Report, writers Allyson Bean and Roselle Agner predict that “the story of women through the COVID-19 pandemic will be told by historians as one of peril, resilience and great strength.”

I have had the privilege of serving women professionally and have many female friends and colleagues. They are unfaltering multi-taskers. Their abilities to manage multiple responsibilities were tested despite limitations imposed on them by the pandemic. They all passed with flying colors.

Women Overcame and Rebuilt

Sadly, countless women suffered immensely throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Many lost jobs at almost twice the rate of men; others endured domestic violence that increased during stay-at-home orders. 

“Despite these challenges, women are also the shining examples of vital and effective leadership in the pandemic response,” according to Bean and Agner. “Countries with women who are the head of state, such as Denmark, Finland, Iceland, New Zealand, Germany, and Slovakia, have been internationally recognized for the effectiveness of their response to the pandemic. These women leaders were proactive in responding to the threat of the virus, implementing social distancing restrictions early, seeking expert advice to inform health strategies, and unifying the country around a comprehensive response with transparent and compassionate communication.”

Compassion

Women lead with intelligence, conviction and compassion. I believe that compassion is what distinguishes good managers from great leaders. Think about the issues we will soon face as we embrace some normalcy. Consider the transition from remote to in-person work and how that will affect childcare, education, office schedules, and health care. It will take strong leadership that is wise and compassionate to manage these issues humanely, and research tells us that organizations with strong women leaders outperform those without them.

Survey Says: Women’s Leadership Skills Rate Higher

For a Harvard Business Review story titled “Research: Women Score Higher Than Men in Most Leadership Skills”, authors Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman found that women scored significantly higher than men on most leadership competencies they measured.

According to their research, “Women are perceived by their managers — particularly their male managers — to be slightly more effective than men at every hierarchical level and in virtually every functional area of the organization. That includes the traditional male bastions of IT, operations, and legal.”

Women were rated as “excelling in taking initiative, acting with resilience, practicing self-development, driving for results, and displaying high integrity and honesty. In fact, they were thought to be more effective in 84% of the competencies that we most frequently measure,” say Zenger and Folkman.

Resiliency

The writers add that statistics don’t quite match reality. The percentage of women in senior roles has remained steady — too low — since they first conducted their research in 2012.  They offer several reasons, including biases against women and the fact that stereotypes die slowly. “Lots of research has shown that unconscious bias places a significant role in hiring and promotion decisions, which also contributes to the lower number of women in key positions,” they report.

I hope we erase these biases and examine the facts. I imagine that we will remain anxious for a long time to come. None of us can know what our world will look like in two, five, or 20 years. But we will need leaders to guide us through these disruptions and shift our perspectives. I have known for many years the guidance I have received from women leaders and friends has been timeless. I have counted on them not just for their brilliance but also their empathy. 

Call to Action

Every CEO, president, and nonprofit leader can find research that supports the importance of supporting women in senior-level leadership roles. The post-COVID world will need a new template crafted by leaders with emotional intelligence and proven experience. They will need to be transparent, realistic, and trustworthy. Men have these traits, too, but an increasing number of studies have shown that women excel in these capacities.

I look forward to a work environment that supports the equal distribution of male and female leaders. Let’s urge our professional friends to embrace this shift. The post-COVID era will demand it.

About Fred

Fred Dawson is a writer, musician, businessman, speaker, and community leader. The author of Pearls: Women Who Radiate Success, Fred celebrates successful women who have found satisfaction after years of work, struggle, or discrimination. Inspired by his mother, whom he describes as “fiercely determined,” Fred donates the books’ proceeds to the Fresh Start Scholarship Foundation, a nonprofit awarding scholarships to women who wish to transform their lives through education but lack the means.  https://freddawson.com/

 

Reviews

“The title itself is a well-suited metaphor for the women inside. The courageous, unforgettable “Pearls” come from many different places and walks of life, with a combination of personal powers: faith, strength, intuition, perseverance, ambition, and vision.” – By Kristy Volchko

 

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