We know why women make great leaders: they excel at building a Purpose-First organization. The question is, are you attracting, incentivizing & engaging them enough?

Patriarchy at the workplace is slowly diminishing, but the glass ceiling is yet to be broken.
Event 1: Need for Alpha-Female Leadership

From unpredictable economies to the whirligig of new technologies to rising distrust between institutions to a millennial workforce to climate change, today’s alpha-female leaders are expected to address these complex issues and encourage women to boss them.

How do you build a more aligned and engaged workforce in a rapidly evolving world? How can women play a vital role in surmounting such challenges?

At Fortune’s August 2019 Business Roundtable, it was universally acknowledged that the best chance a company has of surviving and growing in these times of turmoil is to have a clear sense of purpose - the WHY -  for its workforce.‍

Event 2: The Science behind it

A market survey reveals that teams and organizations with at least 50% of women in executive roles have workers who not only have greater clarity of their organizational mission, strategy, and purpose - but are more inspired by them. These two events are not mutually isolated. And if you have only just made the connection between ‘women’ and ‘purpose at the workplace, you are late.

A growing number of workplaces and businesses are clamoring for more excellent female representation at the top - where womenfolk are still, relative to their male counterparts, not only less in number but less ‘engaged’.‍

The data checks out. Every day, more and more studies confirm that businesses with women in decision-making and critical roles are outperforming – not just preceding-  the companies where men occupy analogous seats.

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Investor and entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary (of ABC’s Shark Tank fame) is more likely to fund start-ups spearheaded by women because–going by his own portfolio - they are way ahead when it comes to performance (for Kevin, that means Return-On-Investment). 

According to this Harris Poll, nearly half of America today would happily work for a company led by women if given a choice.

Fortune 500 companies (with a predominantly women CXO percentage) generated nearly 3X returns compared to those listed on the S&P 500 (and which were mostly herded by men). Why? According to most respondents in some of these surveys, these organizations are more ‘purpose-driven’-- the pinnacle of flower power and women-leadership role.

Back to Purpose -the secret sauce, then. So what makes women more purposeful in the corporate context?

Some of the significant differences are biological. The first one originates in the upper story.

Yes, despite the unisex-brain school of thought, women and men are, by and large, born with brains that have significant structural (and, by extension, functional) differences. Here’s the quick lowdown.

Men’s brains hold a greater number of grey cells. In work, this makes men good at ‘grey cell things’ such as processing concepts and solving problems. Women’s brains, on the other hand, have more white cells.

The purpose of white cells is – amongst other things - to network, harness, and synergize processing and problem-solving tools (grey cells) in the brain. In other words, to supervise, orchestrate, and manage tasks. In the workplace, women are better at connecting, communicating, and mobilizing all moving parts, including emotions.

When it comes to womankind, the stereotype of intelligence is often crooked to cover up the truth.

The other difference is oxytocin. A hormone and a neurotransmitter produced in the hypothalamus, oxytocin, has proven to affect our social behavior. Lightly called the ‘Hug Hormone,’ oxytocin generates ‘trust’. Trust is a vital ingredient in creating an ecosystem of trust, security, and bonding in a team, making us more creative, productive, and happy. Women produce more oxytocin than men, meaning that workplaces that promote women would ‘naturally’ be ‘Great Places to Work.’

Finally, we have neuroimaging investigations to suggest that women employ their Mirror Neurons more than males when they are processing emotions. The main KRA of a Mirror neuron, as the name suggests, is to hold up a mirror to other people’s feelings, allowing the individual to put herself in others’ shoes.

That translates to qualities like understanding (a strong ‘Inclusion & Diversity’ influencer), sensitivity, and empathy in the workplace. You can read up Lowri Dowthwaite’s article on the topic here. In a study, women worked these ‘super-powers’ to do something spectacularly well (much better than men did):

Make employees ‘genuinely’ believe in the business purpose.

By the way, in doing so, they achieved the ‘Holy Grail’ of modern businesses.

In the past, a ‘man’s opinion’ was considered to be one above rationale, statistics, and women.

‍How did they do it? Their Mirror Neurons helped women connect with employees at a one-on-one level. Their grey cells helped women network and mobilize everyone on common ground. And when they finally communicated the company goal, the magic of oxytocin didn’t just make everyone sit up and listen but buy into the premise spontaneously and whole-heartedly.

This led to awesome stuff, like deeper worker engagement, greater belief in business strategy, higher involvement in the organizational journey, and greater conviction in the company’s products and services. Consider the last one, which has the power to turn employees into influential brand ambassadors, is a bonus for your marketing department).

This is the gold one spends billions of dollars every year on for corporate leadership. Instead, all we have to do is engage and incentivize women more purposefully. Build a ‘Great Place to Work’ for them and a more meaningful one. This women’s day, take a decisive step towards empowering women. We have an exclusive FREE offer for passionate people managers like you on this beautiful occasion of Women’s day.

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Rani Joseph

Rani Joseph LinkedIn

Rani Joseph comes with a decade-long experience across the value chain of content and brand marketing. She currently is the Sr. Manager of Content Marketing at Xoxoday.