It is true that we have fewer women CEOs than men, particularly in industry.
At the same time we should not forget that the so-called minus 1 or minus 2 roles actually are not minus. They are extremely important roles and without great people in these roles any CEO - women or men - cannot succeed.
The good news is that, while we still have few women CEOs, we see many more women at these levels in companies and their numbers are growing.
One thing we shouldn't forget when we talk about women CEOs is that if you don't see it, you can't be it. This is why role models are so important, both for women and companies as such.
Once we do have more women CEOs, company employees can also see that gender is not really what this is about, but the leadership qualities of a CEO beyond gender or any other similar attributes.
This is why we need more female leaders. We need to to take many steps in that direction at many levels to include company goals, culture, and many other aspects. And, of course, it's also about supporting communities around emerging leaders, be they male or female. The broader the community, the broader the support.
There is no magic solution to this. Things will start to change when there will be individual effort from each person.
When I left IBM, our global CEO was a woman and the CEO of our Asia-Pacific region was a woman. So, it's possible. Of course, not every company can be as lucky as IBM because of its history and positive heritage, but I think that there is clear inspiration that, even as a male CEO, you can do many positive things when it comes to publicly stating the values and the goals of a company.
For me as a gay person, I must say that, actually, I prefer working with female leaders more and my communication with either female leaders or female colleagues is somehow easier. As I am out in my professional life, too, I know that sometimes I can simply be more myself in front of female leaders - that they would be more understanding of my position in society.
I believe we, gay men, and women, we share a lot of commonalities, including in the way we communicate or the challenges we face in communications.
When I moved to Singapore I was very positively surprised how many wonderful women there were present not only in top leadership, but in the society, too. Equally I was surprised about how clear they were in communicating their needs, their thoughts, their visions. In a way, I felt they were more empowered than their counterparts here in the Czech Republic, for example.
What I think Singapore does really well is to proactively support many kinds of diversity and inclusion. Not all of them yet, but specifically when it comes to nationalities and ethnicity, they pay a lot of attention even within the city of Singapore at the number of people living in a certain areas because they don't want to create any silos in the society. Then it becomes easier to have a dialogue if people are living together.
What I appreciate about women's communication is the balance between clarity and empathy. I believe that each of us can be successful and happy when things are moving in the direction we believe they should. This is very important - to tell people what is needed and how to get there. They need it and we need it. Once we clarify what we want, we shouldn't keep it to ourselves.
What best women leaders do, in my view, in communications is using a strategic balance between being positively aggressive and hugging.
I can tell you that when you use these two perspectives in the right humane way, it works very well.
This works when you get into an argument. It works when you are trying to coach and grow your people. I've lived through a few situations when my boss, she was positively aggressive and I got almost into tears because it was a really, really, difficult situation for me. But then I also learned a lot.
The most important thing is that all of that was meant in a good way, in a hugging way for me, forcing me to grow and to get myself out of my comfort zone.
Sometimes you can use this balance strategically not only to get what you want, but also to help people around you to grow because we both need some positive stress and a clear direction. You need to balance it.
Just get the label that you are pushy. It's a good one, and you should be proud to wear it as visibly as you can. Without that, we will not change anything.
Connect with Miroslav via his LinkedIn profile.
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