Having children has changed my life in more ways than one, but as we continually strive to close gender pay gaps, improve diversity, and actively support women in leadership, I can’t help but reflect on the profound impact that my daughter, Lily, has had on my decision-making as a business leader.
Lily is only eight, but in that short-time, she’s helped me see the world through the eyes of the opposite gender.
I have also softened, displayed more empathy, actively listened, sought to understand more, and not just with her, but with those people I interact with daily at work.
Why? I subconsciously find myself thinking about how she would be feeling or responding to my interactions as if it were her on the receiving end.
A great compilation of kickarse women for International Women’s Day this year.
For those of you that don’t know me professionally, I’ve been a business leader for nearly 15 years, of which the last 10 have been spent within Executive roles at several high growth ASX200 companies.
I’ve seen and supported the rapid rise of diversity targets, gender pay comparisons, women in leadership campaigns and the like – so whilst I wouldn’t consider that entering ‘Dad to a daughter’ status has revolutionised who I am as a leader, it certainly has increased my self-awareness, selflessness and ability to connect with both genders more broadly.
Currently, I’m fortunate to have seven fantastic direct reports – of which four happen to be female. I’ve got an intelligent, driven and successful wife who has co-founded workscore.com.au and is the COO of our household.
I also get to engage with highly talented female colleagues and board members, and have always consciously sought to have a significant representation of female leaders within my leadership teams.
However, research shows that businesses still need to do more to support women in leadership, so I’ve listed some practical ideas any business can implement quickly and easily.
Here are three ways you can support Women in Leadership in 2018.
Implement Individual flexibility
Old School thinking: Having a part-time workforce, gym breaks and/or Work from home policy was considered ‘Workplace flexibility:’
A new perspective: Understanding the individual needs of your people, make it work for them ~ and focus on the output not the input. Do we even really care if someone is at their desk 9-5?, or are delivering objectives irrespective of hours more important?
An example: All four of my female senior leaders have flexibility which is unique to them: one lives far away and works 1 day per week from home and starts and finishes early to miss the traffic, another has shared parenting arrangements so she weights her work time more towards the week she doesn’t have primary care. The other two have tailored flexibility in hours when they need it.
Role model it yourself
Old School thinking: If I put in the extra hours, my team will follow me.
A new perspective: Show some managerial courage, and be true to yourself and your needs. Focus on the things that are important to you, and let your people know they should also. People will both follow and be inspired by you.