I can only speak for myself and from my experience of working with an incredible variety of women from around the world the past 20 years. So here are my reflections on women in the workplace for your consideration.
Women as mentors – Women have a great sense of empathy. They are very attuned to other people’s feelings, emotions and non verbal cues much more so than men. This quality can really enhance the mentoring process where people need to be heard first without having their problems solved for them which is the knee jerk tendency of many dull eared men to pursue in these situations.
Women as colleagues – It’s natural for men to be on better behavior when women are around. They encourage an environment of professionalism and good manners which helps men work on a more civil basis with one another. Again the nurturing instinct women have can often serve to build and sustain great team dynamics as well.
Women as adversaries – Watch out! They can be very cunning and creative in vengeance. If you cross their path best to find a way to get back in their good graces asap. Women have memories like an elephant; resolve your conflicts with them in a timely manner than allow them to fester. Better to pay now rather than later.
Women as leaders – They made it! Broken through the proverbial glass ceiling they have a determination to make their leadership tenure an impactful one. That energy of resolution properly channeled and communicated can result in extraordinary organizational outcomes as so many examples in the business world would evidence.
Women as direct reports – The majority of my team are comprised of women for over 5+ years (with no turnover I would add!). They have made me look better than I am as a leader due to their ability to take ownership and drive tasks and projects forward. They understand the importance of trust and integrity in the workplace and I am so grateful to each of them for the professionalism they have contributed to my function. They have demonstrated an exceptional desire to learn and develop on the job many of them volunteering for roles outside their primary positions.
Women as inspirations – I recently completed an 86 floor tower climbing race the first of its kind that I participated in. The only ones from our workplace that joined in on the challenge were 3 ladies which inspired me to new heights from a health and wellness perspective. I had only known one of them previously but I will never forget their friendliness and encouragement and probably their instinct of knowing I was not sure if I would make it all the way up to the top that day. They sensed that and inspired me maybe without even knowing it. I will never forget them for it.
Last but not least let us not forget the old saying “Behind every successful man there is a woman” That is certainly the case for me personally. Whoever I am and whatever good I have achieved It would not be so without the support and strength of my wife of 20 years beside me. If you don’t think wives are important in their husbands workplace think again. Their emotional impact can cast a large shadow over us men wherever we go and whatever we do.
by: James Babb, Partner and CFO program leader at Deloitte, Middle East
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