Over the next few months we’re shining a spotlight on women in leadership with our blog series. We asked five 100 Women members to share their thoughts on this issue. First in the series is Tammy Tansley a human resources, culture & change and industrial relations consultant.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
Often women (and men) have self-belief issues. Or they have a pre-conceived idea of what a “great” leader is, and they can’t reconcile that with their own unique style. You don’t have to be a charismatic, extrovert to be a great leader. In fact, recent research shows the reverse is often true.
From a structural perspective, the point at which people are often considering post graduate studies or experiences that may assist with leadership roles, or taking on pre leadership roles that give them breadth of experiences necessary for executive roles is often the point at which women choose to have children. There are many examples where women have taken on leadership roles notwithstanding this, but it certainly adds extra complexity.
There is some research that shows that another barrier to more women in leadership positions is that men are better networked than women – and that particularly at board level, who you know counts.
What leadership skills do you think all women should learn?
Women should be able to identify their own personal brand and leadership style and be able to amplify that for maximum benefit.
All leaders should work on their political savvy and see this as a positive skill rather than something Machiavellian. Leaders should work on both their emotional and social intelligences.
It goes without saying that breadth of experiences and functional skills such as strategic vision, negotiation, commercial and financial acumen and savvy are all point of entry skills.
What company/area of government etc would you like to see a female leading?
Any and all companies and government departments would benefit from greater leadership diversity.
What do you think would change if more women were leaders?
We know that diversity of thought and experiences makes good business sense. We know that organisations with women on boards perform better than those that don’t. More women in leadership would hopefully break down the unhealthy “boy’s club” culture that is endemic in many of our organisations.
Tammy Tansley’s background is in corporate human resources roles – including workplace and industrial relations, organisational development, culture and change and, of course leadership. She has worked in Australia and in the UK and when she returned to Perth 7 years ago from Melbourne, established Tammy Tansley Leadership and Workplace Culture providing consulting and coaching services to organisations and employees around leadership, workplace culture and change and high performing teams.