Gender diversity is not a corporate buzzword. Gender diversity is also not a CSR initiative. It is a business imperative. It is the reason for organizations to survive the massive talent war that surrounds them today. It is also the biggest driver of the most important quality that the leaders today need to have – being inclusive. An advanced leadership development program will demonstrate how this is the single-most critical attribute that organizations are looking to nurture in their leaders.
What then is the true form of leadership and strategy in today’s times of gender diversity? Let us take a look.
- Being aware and mindful – Sounds simple? Its actually one of the most complicated things to do as a leader. Being aware of your bias and how it impacts your decision making. Being mindful of your reactions and how to affect a mix-gender team that you lead. These are things to work on and incorporate, as a leader, as well as in your organizational strategy. We all have an inherent bias that operates with or without our knowledge. The challenge as a leader is to be aware and acknowledge that it is. The courage is, to admit that it creeps into our decision making. That is what organizations need to factor in, when they define their strategy across all people processes when it comes to gender diversity.
- Showing empathy – Women employees have the same ambitions as the male employees. They have the same level of talent and passion for their careers, and its growth. However, due to some phases in life which require their attention or time, they are usually in the complex and extremely difficult position of managing home or children, as well as their careers. As a leader, and as an organization, be empathetic. Be cognizant of how they might be juggling these. And then design your strategy to factor these elements in.
- Knowing the talent market– Yes, gender diversity is not just an “in-thing” or “best practice” to replicate as is. Do not fall into the trap of simply associating this with hiring x number of women in your organization. Know your competitors and your market is important. But even more important, is to know how the talent market works. What segments would you want to look at even from a gender diversity perspective, in order to have an equal-opportunity environment in your workplace.
So the crux of your approach for leadership as well as overall strategy when it comes to gender diversity, should be awareness and empathy.