New trend of male leadership actively involved in promoting women.
Shifts of perception and social behaviors take time. They also need champions who decide to re-examine what I call present state scenarios to envision ideal state possibilities.
This is the case with gender integration and the advocacy from male leaders in the promotion, retention, and advancement of women. We are looking at a shift in narrative from organizations such as Catalyst, Ernst and Young LLP, and Deloitte, to name a few.
Recently the Financial Times published a great article: Her Inequality is now his concern, written by Emma Jacobs which describes this new trend of male leaders taking an active role in advocating for gender parity. There are some important points that can be quite useful to you as a leader, as you develop your own narrative and leadership strategy.
1-Gender integration is good for business. This is a pivotal point thoroughly analyzed in my book: Can You Afford to Ignore Me?Research from the most reputable universities and consulting organizations throughout the world consistently show that the more “diverse” the work population, the better companies perform in all aspects including better metrics related to retention and engagement.
2-It’s important to prevent group think. Again this is an issue that has been intensely analyzed especially during the recent economic crisis, and many continue to say that the melt down would most likely been prevented if we had had “Lehman Brothers and Sisters”.
3- New demands from the incoming work force. The younger generation, millennials and X-er’s, are “demanding” a new style of working and a new definition of roles at work and at home. Both men and women from these generations will seek more flexibility, more diversity in their work environments, more rotations and variety in work and assignments.
I summaries these issues in Chapter two of my book:
“In short, environments and management styles geared to welcome and motivate women will also welcome and motivate Millennials. Obviously, good management requires a complementary approach that can reach all the groups in your diverse workforce. But there is good reason to focus special attention on women and Millennials: They are the future of the workforce. As Veterans and Baby Boomers retire, Generation X, Millennials and women will continue to make up a larger percentage of employees and potential leaders. These groups are integral to succession planning — developing depth here now can strengthen your competitive position for years to come.”
Lastly the article captures that which I express in my consulting work. It is essential to find the right context to discuss, understand, analyze and enhance the performance of women. Attrition and derailment are bad for business. To have men fully engaged in this process, will make them catalyst for change, will move this issue forward faster, will evidence the power of aligning with a common purpose. We need a full representation at the table it’s the best way to help develop a healthy dialogue that will continue to bridge the gender gap.
By Elisabet Rodriguez Dennehy