Women in Leadership Positions: Agents of Change

A few years ago, the CEO of a German bank told me that women who wanted to have a professional career would not be able to balance it with a family life. His company, like many, has work-life balance initiatives, but this is out of reach for women who want to advance in their profession: they must opt for their career and renounce motherhood.

Companies are the protagonists of the world these days. And they often use the art of the war with the economy, treating employees like mere machines. But the worse political and business structures treat women, the worse it will be also for men, children, families and the future of humanity

Teamwork and team spirit. Source: Flickr/ 드림포유

Women executives are agents of change for the enterprise. Women’s attributes complement the men’s when it comes to leadership. They contribute emotional intelligence to the centers of power and create a culture capable of integrating reason and feeling, values that are essential for empathizing with the needs of a global custome

Only a culture of diversity that embraces difference along with flexibility will open the door for women to ascend to management positions, the executive committee and ultimately the board of directors. For that to happen, the senior management team must be one that values diversity and promotes changes that have an impact on formal systems and leadership styles, offering everyone—men and women—different options to choose from. The idea is for women to get there while still being themselves.

At IESE we teach that if we want bona fide high-performance teams, we need diversity (geographic, background, experiences and points of view, etc.). And the greatest diversity is to have XX and XY. Many entrepreneurs and executives these days realize and accept that diversity is part of business.

If the 21st century proves to be functional, it will be because women are increasingly more involved in the organization of a society that has been in a deplorable state, designed around a decadent and absurd form of rationalism, a throwback from the industrial era. Today’s companies need to be open, diverse, flexible and inclusive .

About Nuria Chinchilla

Nuria Chinchilla is professor in the Managing People in Organizations Department and director of the International Center on Work and Family (ICWF). An economist and lawyer by training, she holds a Ph.D. in Management from IESE. Her areas of specialization include women and power, family-responsible organizations managerial competencies, career and time management, interpersonal conflict and not-for-profit organizations. In 1984, she became a full-time member of IESE's faculty. Prof. Chinchilla is a business and government consultant and member of several Boards such as the VIP Board of European Professional Women's Network (EPWN).

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