I recently had the privilege to be a keynote speaker at How Women Work Qatar (HWW Qatar). The Conference is the Brainchild of Carolin Zeitler and developed with the support of the Qatar Professional Women's Network. The event aims to break down gender stereotypes and cultural biases.
I was subtly waving the flag for entrepreneurship, and more loudly imparting the merits of women sitting at boardroom tables, amongst leadership teams and within communities. I am discovering that entrepreneurship and women are more closely intertwined than I originally considered, or they should be.
It's not news that the strength of all groups and teams is greater than the sum of their parts, but it's less commonly known just how powerful creating diversity at leadership and advisory levels can be. Why this is true remains a mystery to many.
So I did some homework after a help shout out on Twitter. The Credit Suisse Report on Gender Diversity explains why diverse teams function better:
- According to a NASA study, women's leadership styles can be characterised by task orientation, mentoring and the needs of others. All male teams are characterised by competitiveness, and little sharing of personal concerns.
- According to McKinsey studies, there are nine key criteria that define any good leader. Women apply five of these nine leadership behaviours more frequently than men. Women are good at defining responsibilities clearly and are strong at coaching and mentoring employees. Men are better at taking individual decisions and corrective actions should things go awry.
The magic of diverse thinking, perspective and interactions can combine to fuel powerful results. When building boards of directors, advisory and leadership teams, when seeking mentors, the diversity card is far from wild and more a natural outcome of human behaviour.