Women are better leaders in an economic downturn

by 11 Nov 2008

WOMEN ARE more effective leaders in times of financial and economic uncertainty, according to new research which found that Australians have greater confidence in women during turbulent times.

The study, conducted by Steps Leaders, has revealed that women are considered to have stronger people skills and greater flexibility – key attributes needed from leaders when operating in a challenging business environment.

However, despite believing that women are best for the job, two thirds agreed that during a downturn in the economy women have much more to lose. More than 66 per cent of respondents believe it is harder for women to advance their careers in troubled times because of a lack of promotional opportunities.

“In times of crisis, most people turn to a woman for support,” said Gillian O’Mara, director and general manager of Steps. “In these uncertain market conditions, it is understandable why people would want women in positions of leadership and influence in business. The average woman manages both family commitments and business priorities on a daily basis.”

O’Mara said that attributes such as flexibility and adaptability are regarded highly in leaders, and that is a key factor in why there is greater confidence in women leaders in these uncertain times.

In response to the results of the EOWA’s recent census (see story above), O’Mara said the time is right to be investing in development opportunities that enhance womens’ career prospects and leadership skills, thereby by breaking down barriers to their advancement.

“Now more so than ever, businesses must retain the talent they have and actively grow talent from within,”she said. “Women are often a source of untapped potential, so it is imperative for organisations to give them a helping hand to the top.”