Champions keep playing until they get it right, said Billie Jean King. When I thought of writing this article, my grey cells rattled about how women are natural influencers while men are achievers. It can definitely be the other way around but sometimes the brain of a specific gender has an organic approach towards certain areas. For example, at times women are better at influencing as compared to men – the reason can be two-fold, firstly they are more emotionally intelligent (as per few research reports), and secondly, female leaders have a natural quality of seeking feedback and listening ability. The resultant output is a holistic view to a problem or a task at hand, making women natural influencers.
The automotive industry being the boys club saw Mary Barra driving the wheels of General motors (GM) as the first female CEO. She was resilient to work to up the stocks of GM which was going through an ordeal of its time. She started with urging workers to come forward with any problems they encountered in the company. During her tenure as the CEO, GM was awarded number one position in 2018- Global Report on Gender Equality and as one of the only two automotive companies in the world with no gender wage gap. Mary Barra has shown herself as being more than capable of leading the way in an industry where women are the minority. Her success story is a motivational fairy tale for any young woman.
Sara Laschever, co-author of Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want, mentioned that women struggle when it comes to negotiating for themselves on topics such as compensation and career growth. But, they excel when they negotiate on behalf of the “well-being” or for the “common good.” A prominent feature of the multitasking gender is their thinking ability for the whole family/ team comes naturally to them and hence making them an “influencer = leader”.
Many women have evolved as entrepreneurs today and use everything in their stride to compete with the Titans. It’s not easy to succeed, but with emotional intelligence and grit, women are empowered to achieve the impossible. For women leaders, judgemental scones are baked at every step they take. Questions like are you married followed by do you have children, if yes, do you have enough time for family. In today’s world, men agree on how women are walking shoulder to shoulder but no one asks these questions to men because it’s a woman’s responsibility to “balance” things.
Rimjhim Charan, COO at 100Krafts, and a mother of two says “Being an entrepreneur means creating a new small corporate world where I impact lives of many people. My two daughters have seen me solve problems, take decisions, handle responsibility, and work uninterrupted for 20 hours including managing the house and family. They aspire to be like me one day and that’s my biggest achievement till today. Motherhood only makes one do things in a better way as you always have two little pairs of eyes watching you.”
What an aggressive boss? Oh, I have heard this from so many women in my 12 years of experience in the big corporate world, but I was lucky that I have had many women bosses and they were fantastic, it was also because as a woman we supported each other and did not judge. The golden rule of sisterhood was followed. Also, women have the natural adjusting ability which stems their growth in any given situation, and fortunately it works for them.
Pushmeet Sodhi, a working mother and expat in Singapore who changed countries because of the family move said, “During my eight years in Singapore, I have grown both personally and professionally. I am grateful for the working opportunities Singapore has given me and I am keen to continue contributing my skills and expertise for the benefit of this country and my industry. I have worked my way up from manager roles to heading the account management for a market leader in its own category. The journey wasn’t easy however it takes time, investment and a lot of hard work while balancing family. However, I am a big believer that if you genuinely put these three things in, you not only succeed as an expat but you make a niche and a brand for yourself. One more piece of advice, believe in yourself and surround yourself with the right people.”
As an individual, I have always believed that this world is a fair place. Because if women are reaching the top, it’s not only their achievement alone, it is also the men in their lives who should be credited for supporting them. Male family members and colleagues have come to terms and have been supportive of how important it is for women to be successful as well. They are proud equal partners in the success story of today’s women.
The success of a woman in the world of bows and ties depends solely on her abilities and should be credited to the hard work she has put in while balancing life.
Jaayaa A Kumarr – A lawyer by qualification and a marketer by profession. The views expressed are author’s own.