1 Women in business…our Super Power!
With the theme this week for the magazine of “Made in Britain” it got me thinking…I was made in Britain…well from my Mum obviously. I thought of the powerful and resilient lady that she was who started a family business in the 1970’s and built the largest children’s wear business, called “Daley’s” in Cumbria. Pretty incredible achievement thinking about it now. I am sure we can all recall through our careers very positive female influences in our lives so I wanted to dedicate this article to this proud nation that is probably one of the most advanced societies that has realised the power of Women in business…and before you say it, I know we still have some way to go on this subject but we do seem to be traveling at speed. I am an advocate for Women in Business, for a few years now I have been a mentor for the Aspire Foundation supporting woman running charities, and in my own business my business partner is my wife Kerry, we love working together and some of our best work has come from our collaborative working.
A resilient force
We have many strong women in our history and even in my own lifetime we have experienced some of the most resilient leaders in history. I do not think many would disagree that during the last 100 years there are three stand out Prime Ministers who have shown the most resilience, and most are female. You may not agree with their politics or policies, but it is pretty undeniable that Sir Winston Churchill, Margret Thatcher and Theresa May win the award for “It is all going against me but I will soldier on regardless”. I do not recall reading in history about any PM who has been criticised and almost ridiculed as much as Theresa May has, and yet she remains focused on her mission and resilient against those against her. We should give her some respect for this especially when so many around her have resigned when things didn’t go their way, David Cameron and Boris Johnson to mention only a few, sorry guys.
Juggling home, husbands, dogs, cats, kids, fitting in exercise and motorbikes - well for my wife at least… and yet still finding the time to push forward with their own business goals and yes still finding the time to help others at the same time. Recently I have observed talented and successful Women in Business taking the time to push, promote, advise and do what they can to forward other business owners efforts to grow their businesses. It has been great to see this generosity of spirit and selfless acts to help one another, I am not saying that this is exclusive to women in business, but I think it does seem to come to them more naturally.
High on Empathy
In our search to identify what makes a successful business person and leader, we now read and understand a lot more about the importance of Emotional Intelligence, the famous Harvard Business school writes of it often. This is defined as having the attributes of self-awareness, self-regulation, Motivation, Social Skills and the one I want to focus on which is Empathy. If one can master the ability to understand other people’s emotional makeup and why they react to certain things in a certain way, this is the route to a harmonious and likely to be more successful team where team members trust one another. I won’t sit on the fence here, my view is whilst men work at this and some of us are really quite good at it, the natural aptitude of the female ear to understand the feelings of others is almost magical. The successful Business woman makes her mark in being understanding without allowing sentimentality throw anything off course, a real skill. So don’t be too cool for school guys we can learn a lot from our female colleagues in this area and we need to.
Women are blessed with a super sense of ownership. Often, they take on full responsibilities of their families and I don’t say that men don’t do that, but the female brain has developed to instinctively take responsibility for people and care for them, and this is so true in business too. As a nation it feels like we are more developed in our recognition of the Female Super Power in our work places, and we should continue to embrace this. The push to equalise pay and increase the female presence on Company boards in my opinion is something we need to accelerate.