Omaha's Women in LeadershipDec 01, 2021 12:36PM ● By David Brown
We are all faced with change every day. Most of these changes are minor and can be accommodated as they are presented to us. Some changes are significant and impact the people and world around us. We have all seen the aftermath of pandemics, natural disasters, or economic upheavals caused by recessions.
Differences in how organizations weather such storms reflect the mindset of their leaders. Do they study trends, look at data, and take action that has plausible impacts for the next quarter or the next year? Or are they leaders who, as described by Marina Gorbis at the Institute for the Future, “…practice systematic thinking about the future as absolutely essential for helping them make better choices today”? This systemic thinking enables these future-oriented leaders to anticipate change differently. They can more effectively make decisions that will prepare their organizations for an upcoming change event and potentially take advantage to propel their companies and communities past moribund competition.
I wondered if there was an untapped pool of leaders who, if engaged, could make a difference in preparing for responses to disruptions as well as create productive disruptions that help to avoid future major change events. As it turns out, women in leadership positions have shown significant skill sets and success in dealing with these changes both in their workplaces and the communities they live in. And, while there have been strides in moving women into leadership positions, women are still a huge untapped leadership resource.
A 2019 study from Kelley Consulting Firm cites several characteristics of female leaders that show how they can make a difference leading through change. Woman leaders are essential collaborators in business and have shown innate abilities to create a positive environment that encourages teamwork. Collaboration and teamwork are key components of leading through complex change. Female leaders have demonstrated strong abilities to open and maintain lines of communication across their organizations. Finally, a 2017 Bloomberg publication stated that publicly traded companies being led by women performed much better than those that were not.
It is clear that organizations that can respond most effectively to business disruptions will be the most likely to succeed in the future. Companies and communities seek leaders that can identify those disruptions the fastest and then work to mitigate their effects and even turn it to their advantage. Diverse leadership, particularly women in leadership, in all levels of the company make the odds of success in solving these challenges and turning them into competitive advantages much greater.
This article originally appeared in the November/December issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.