Career Women – Making of Better Leaders

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With the number of working women across the world is increasing day by day work-life balance has become a universal problem for women. As more and more women are coming out looking forward to a professional career, the workforce across the world has changed dramatically in the last few decades. It is estimated that nearly half of the workforce is constituted by women from corporate CEOs to ordinary executives. But in the process, they have to do a lot of balancing act to keep the life move smoothly.

While executing the tasks as a true professional and moving up the corporate ladder, brings in a lot of excitement for women, often women find work-life balance to be a challenging goal to achieve. For majority of women, unlike men, the professional and personal lives are interconnected, each directly impacting the other. In most cases the responsibilities as women on the personal front always weighs more in the mind of a woman, especially when they have a family to take care of. As a result, many women tend to compromise and move off the path more frequently than men.

Some decades back work- family integration was a major issue faced by women generally and there were not much support either from the corporate front as well from within the family. All these have changed now.

But, today women have come a long way and modern women juggle multiple responsibilities with ease: a true professional, adorable mom and dutiful wife. Today, women have taken on multiple roles and adapt well to the changing needs and quiet successfully meet professional responsibilities. As the demands increases, more and more women accept the challenges and try to fulfill these roles.

Even in the corporate world, women are rising to leadership positions and some are even setting up own businesses. But still as a survey by LinkedIn reveals that women are more motivated by finding the right balance between personal and work life than they are by a high salary. Sixty-five per cent indicated that a flexible working arrangement would better allow them to manage career and family.

Another survey in 2013 by the US based Pew Research Centre on modern parenthood found that half of mothers would prefer to work part-time and 11 per cent would prefer not to work. The higher the socio- economic status, the more likely the woman did not want to work full-time: one-quarter (25 per cent) of women with annual family incomes of $50,000 or higher selected full-time work as their ideal, compared to 75 per cent of fathers.

On the other hand, corporates have also realized that attracting and retaining top talent is a critical factor in determining the success of an organization. So, increasingly corporate across the world and industry spectrum have begun to recognize the enormous skills of women executives, right from junior level to leadership roles, and provide them with the flexibility they needed to balance their work and family lives.

 Making of Better Women Leaders

Today women have come a long way. Even in the corporate business world, we see women rising to leadership positions and even setting up own businesses. But still there are many challenges that women still face in the workplace, regardless of industry. The “gender gap” between men and women is very apparent in many corporates across the globe. But, some human resources experts believe that female professionals are to be mainly blamed for the situation, because still women tend to be less assertive about their professional growth than men.

According to a new study by US based talent management system Saba Software , reveals that women are more hesitant to speak up about their career ambitions. The Saba survey, conducted by Harris Poll, found that 60 percent of male employees expect their companies to play an active role in their individual career options, versus 49 percent of female employees who expect this.

Saba study also discovered that women are driven more by intrinsic motivations about work, rather than what their jobs or employers demand from them. In general while men tend to be career-centric and want to maximize their financial return from work, women view work more holistically, as a component of their overall life plan, Therefore, women are more likely to approach their careers in a self-reflective way and value factors such as meaning, purpose, connection with co-workers and work-life integration

Women’s inclination toward a holistic, self-reflective approach could explain why female employees define leadership differently than some men do. According to the study, Sixty-five percent of women (versus 56 percent of men) view leaders as those who share their knowledge and connect with their colleagues to help the team and the business.

Saba’s survey found that only 60 percent of women said they feel that they are leaders based on their participation in the business. Women’s attitudes toward leadership and career development could play an important role in their career progress. When women bring this attitude into managerial roles, it may actually make them stronger, more-effective leaders, It is obvious that women need to be more assertive, especially those who at the decision making positions ensure that their point of view is heard and considered at work.

– M D Sridharan

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