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Why Women Make Great Leaders The organizational structures today require a more malleable set of leaders who lead by example, and enable the junior members of the workforce to learn and grow at work.

By Divya Jain

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Although the gap between men and women in leadership roles is gradually decreasing, a huge disparity still remains amongst them. Studies show that while women only hold 21% of top positions within organizations, they often excel at leadership roles once they have landed them, largely due to the soft skills that they possess. For ages, women's ability to lead has remained under constant doubt, as the male-dominated world continued to deem them 'too empathetic and soft' while necessitating the presence of a 'strong' man at the helm who can take tough decisions.

So, what changed? Modern workplaces have evolved from their primitive structures, with greater emphasis upon the need to qualities like listening, empathy, communication and approachability amongst the top-tier leaders. Modern leadership doesn't require the stern and stiff set of people who used to 'rule' with an iron fist – the organizational structures today require a more malleable set of leaders who lead by example, and enable the junior members of the workforce to learn and grow at work.

'Soft' doesn't mean 'weak'

For most women, these qualities are hardwired in their psyche naturally. The very 'softness' which had been held against women is what makes them more effective in leadership roles today. A large part of a leader's job involves connecting with the team. A good leader is the glue that holds the team together. Leadership is much more than just giving orders – it also requires helping the team members become better at their jobs, which is something women leaders naturally excel at.

As a continuation of their natural role of nurturers, women leaders create a conducive environment for the people working with them, providing them with ample space to make mistakes and learn from them. Also, since the teams often consider female leaders more approachable, members of the workforce are also able to freely communicate the challenges they face, and the support they require from the leadership to overcome them. The inherently caring disposition possessed by women also helps them to be more sensitive towards the needs of the workforce, thereby enabling them to create a growth-oriented culture within an organization.

Multitasking and attention to detail is the recipe to success

Women are also known to be great at multitasking and pay great attention to detail, which is another important skill set that all leaders must possess. Being a part of the top management places you at a vantage point from where you can easily manage to get the larger picture. However, this vantage often comes at the expense of missing out on finer details. Being naturally adept at multitasking, women are able to handle complex situations without getting overwhelmed by the high demands of leading positions. Their attention to detail also adds to their problem-solving skills, making them perfect for leadership positions.

Another factor that contributes to women's leadership abilities is their ardent desire to break free of the social stereotypes associated with gender. They are driven by their aspirations of showing the world what women can achieve through hard work and perseverance, while also setting the right example for the thousands of young girls who may, someday, take on the leadership mantle. This fierce determination of proving their worth out in the world makes women more focused and goal-oriented, another set of qualities desired in a good leader.

Several examples throughout history showcase that whenever women have taken up any leadership role, they have aced it by being equally good, and in some cases, better than their male counterparts. Women inherently possess most qualities that define a good leader. What they need is the right set of people around them who acknowledge their worth and provide them with the right set of opportunities.

Divya Jain

Co-founder, Seekho

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