Twenty Reasons Why Advancing Women into Leadership is a Fiduciary Duty

Will Marré

February 21, 2018

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Those of you who know me, know that I don't believe that most men will take up the torch of moral change. Men in general are simply too competitive and too self-interested to sustain their moral courage.

I am tirelessly beating the drum to elevate more women into leadership. As I have wondered how to accelerate getting more women on Boards of Directors and incorporate C-suites, it struck me that I must use the logic of our current business norms to force the issue.

So, I commissioned a research project to examine the evidence of the impact of women on the financial, strategic, innovative, and operational performance of business organizations.

What I found in the research is that women are generally superior to men in 20 key competencies that directly affect the financial performance of a large enterprise. This means that corporate boards have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to elevate more women into senior leadership positions.

What I'm saying here is that if corporate boards feel their job is to ensure their company creates as much short-term shareholder wealth as possible they are obligated to recruit and elevate women who excel at most of the 20 competencies listed below. Right now, women who get to the top usually have to mimic men. But we don't need highly competitive, short-term focused, self-interested women in leadership. Instead, we need business cultures that promote women who possess high social intelligence, thinking versatility, and creative empathy.

Companies that do not systematically promote these kinds of women need to be sued by activist shareholders who want their companies to prosper both now and in the future.

The list of 20 ways that most women outperform most men is down below.

The world is not going to change on its own . . . at least not for the better. What you do matters. What you stand for matters. This is not the best we can do . . . we need to do better.

20 Reasons Why Advancing Women into Leadership Is a Fiduciary Duty of Corporate Boards

1. Women get results. Companies with diverse boards perform better than those run purely by men: Francesca Lagerberg, "Woman in business: the value of diversity." Grant Thornton International, (2015): Tiny URL

2. Women are more effective collaborators. Women are naturally wired for career success in today's workplace with attributes such as cooperation, collaboration, and communication: Catherine Kaputa, "The female advantage: 9 ways to use it." The Women's Conference Archive Site. Tiny URL

3. Women are more versatile. Character traits of women leaders include "masculine" traits such as straightforward communication style, action-oriented, risk-takers, skilled at solving complex problems, but additionally, resilience, energy, and empathy: "Women leaders research paper." Caliper Research and Development Department, (2014). Tiny URL

4. Women "read" people better. Women have higher social intelligence and are more intuitive and empathetic: Catherine Kaputa, "The female advantage: 9 ways to use it." The Women's Conference Archive Site. Tiny URL

5. Women are more mentally agile. Women use both right and left hemispheres of brain, making them outscore men on oral and written tests; better communicators: Catherine Kaputa, "The female advantage: 9 ways to use it." The Women's Conference Archive Site. Tiny URL

6. Women express themselves better. Women have higher emotional intelligence and can express emotions more accurately, which unites others: Catherine Kaputa, "The female advantage: 9 ways to use it." The Women's Conference Archive Site. Tiny URL

7. Women are better transformational leaders. Women are more "transformation" leaders; they are skilled at getting subordinates to transform their own self-interest into the interest of the larger group. Women transcribe their power, not to their position within the organization, but to their own personal characteristics: Barbara B. Moran, "Gender differences in leadership." Tiny URL

8. Women are better at creating win-win solutions. Women leaders are more democratic; better at win-win situations: Barbara B. Moran, "Gender differences in leadership." Tiny URL

9. Women are better at leading teams. Women think more holistically, have higher levels of compassion and team-building skills, are more persuasive and assertive, and are better at influencing without using authority. Drew Gannon, "How men and women differ in the workplace." The Fiscal Times, (2012, May 25). Tiny URL

10. Women are better at uniting teams. Women are better at building team cohesion: Kenya McCullum, "The feminine advantage: 4 unique qualities women bring to the workplace." Worldwide Learn (2014, Sept.) Tiny URL

11. Women are more confident in their ability to deal with risk. Women leaders are more persuasive, assertive, and willing to take more risks than male leaders: "The qualities that distinguish women leaders." Caliper Research and Development Center, (2005). Caliper Media

12. Women are better at facing challenges. Women managers may be better prepared to cope with the challenges of the future: Barbara B. Moran, "Gender differences in leadership." Tiny URL

13. Women are better at getting results through teamwork. Women create more committed, collaborative, inclusive, and more effective teams: "Women leaders: the hard truth about soft skills." Bloomberg Business, (2010, Feb. 16). Tiny URL

14. Women are better at creating loyalty and commitment. Women are better at building relationships that inspire and engage others: Mitch McCrimmon, Are women better leaders than men? Management Issues, (2014, May 6). Tiny URL

15. Women in the E-suite create better business results. Women generate better teams and better teams generate better corporate results: Solange Charas, "A mathematical argument for more women in leadership." Fast Company. Tiny URL

16. Women are better at leading change. Women are better at promoting change: "Women leading change." Oxfam, (2011). Tiny URL

17. Women are more flexible under changing circumstances. Women are more flexible: Christine Avery and Diane Zabel, The Flexible Workplace: A Sourcebook of Information and Research. Quorum Books (2001). Tiny URL

18. Women are more adaptable to new circumstances. Women are more adaptable to change: Margaret Andersen, Howard Taylor, Kim Logio, Sociology: the essentials, eighth edition. Cengage learning, (2015). Tiny URL

19. Women are better at avoiding reckless risk. Women are better at avoiding reckless risk: Asha Kaul Manjari Singh, Gender inclusivity: theory and best practices. PHI Learning Private Limited, (2012). Tiny URL

20. Women are better at resolving risk. Women are better at resolving conflict: Colleen E. Kelley and Ann L. Ebien, Women who speak for peace. Rowan and Littlefield Publishers, (2002). Rowan and Littlefield

Will Marré (rhymes with "Hooray!") is the co-founder and former president of the Covey Leadership Center which brought The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People to millions worldwide. Will's focus was on developing Smart Power leaders through his Smart Power Institute. The Institute is research-based and develops thinking tools, behavioral skills, and leadership practices necessary to be effective in the new disruptive economy. Smart Power is based on gender synergy—how men and women can use gender-based strengths to lead and work together to multiply positive results. Will was a highly-requested speaker and trusted advisor on corporate transformation, women's leadership, and igniting innovation.

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