The Third Aspect Why We Want More Women in Leadership: because it just makes good sense

Post in: German

The third aspect of why we need more women in leadership positions is “the business case.” It’s really very simple, and very practical: if I automatically rule out half of the candidates for a position, then I’m limiting my talent pool to only half of the potential. Why would I do that?

The compelling business case goes even further:
People tend to behave differently depending upon who else is present. Men behave differently when surrounded only by other men compared to when there’s a mixed group. Similarly with women. Mixed groups of people who are diverse in a variety of ways, including gender mixes, have possibilities, freedoms, and opportunities to innovate. They can ask new questions, take new perspectives, and make new decisions that groups of people who are locked into status quo behaviors tend not to practice.

Why would mixed groups be better able to innovate?
Scientists have discovered a “zone of proximal development,” and a “Zone of Reflective Capacity,” which, when applied to adult learners, means to me that when we’re challenged a bit out of our comfort zone and the things we already know, but not challenged too far to the point of giving up, we can actually do our best learning, growing, and reflecting. The innovations and solutions that result from diversity at the table, in leadership, and in the organization most likely arises because of people being stretched by others around them to think and reflect in new ways.
Diverse groups of decisionmakers are also less likely to suffer from “Groupthink,” a phenomenon wherein a group is at risk of making flawed decisions because the desire for harmony eliminates the opportunity for a dissenting voice to be heard and taken into account. Diverse groups may have more conflict that homogenous groups, but that conflict illustrates varieties of solutions and pathways and perspectives. Instead of the group marching down a well-trodden path, the opportunity to consider alternatives allows new solutions.

With the business case for diversity, we may be able to convince skeptical men in power that their worries about women in leadership are unnecessary. Assuming there’s respect and recognition for these new leaders, the very presence of women in leadership at their organization can create an environment that sets up the organization for greater success.

You don’t have to take my word for it. These are concepts taught widely: read on!

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