Michelle Obama, Oprah, Sheryl Sandburg, Beyoncé, Madam Secretary...in my eyes are public images of wonder women.
Yesterday I was blessed with spending time with 2 women who, in their own way, are wonder women. I walked away from those interactions thinking 'Wow they are pretty special'.
I started the day with coffee with Jess, a gorgeous friend of mine who I hadn't seen in years. Over those years she has had 2 beautiful children and successfully made partner at her audit firm. I was so taken by the way she told her story with such humility, she didn't realise just how powerful it would be for other women to hear her story. It's not mine to tell, so I will let her do the honours, but the themes that came out were:
Passion: for what she does and her family
Aspiration: to continuously improve, but with
Honesty: about what she is capable of (without putting herself under undue pressure)
Generosity: to talk to people about their genuine goals and dreams
Nurture: your Relationships
Equality: between men and women and the important role men play in helping women be wonderful
I then ended the day with Kathryn, whom I have had great pleasure and fortune to work with over the past 6 months. She had recently received some fabulous news that was really going to rock her and her children's worlds. Over a riesling we talked about what this meant to her. In doing so, she shared with me what was important to her. This is what stood out for me:
Relationships: the importance of your female network to help you grow through challenging times
Resilience: the ability to get through what seem like the worst times of your life
Unequivocal Support of the ones you care for even if that comes at personal cost.
Accountability for your choices
Context: there are always 2 sides to a story so don't make decisions without all the facts
As I look at the above list of qualities I can't help but think about how powerful they would be when incorporated into someone's approach to leadership. Who wouldn't want to work for a leader that demonstrated the above? Who wouldn't want that leader on their team?
What struck me was that these were personal stories they shared with me that had such business relevance.
With the gender pay gap in ASX 200 organisations being 28.7% and the fact that 10% of ASX 200 companies don't have a woman on their board, inequality continues to exist.
'Value is in the eye of the beholder'
Consider the impact of the above stats - why don't companies value women in the same way as men? It is a fact that when people don't feel valued, they underperform or worse, leave, resulting in increased recruitment costs, loss of IP and all sorts of other financial and opportunity costs.
For women like Jess and Kathryn, the opportunity to recognise and bring to their organisation the invaluable skills they perceive to be 'life' skills means their 'valued skill set' instantaneously increases. This serves as a differentiator and enables them to be a more effective, and therefore more successful leader.
Just by bringing more of themselves into their leadership style.
I maintain, Michelle Obama, Oprah, Sheryl Sandburg, Beyoncé and Madam Secretary are wonder women. But Jess and Kathryn also go on my list.
If you’d like to identify your ‘life skills’ that may have untapped value in the workplace, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0451 541 481.
PS – I know that Madam Secretary is a fictional character, but I just get so revved up and inspired when I watch her!
1Gender workplace statistics at a glance’, August 2016: Workplace Gender Equality Agency