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Transforming Corporate Culture Around Gender Diversity
-By Dr. Stephanie Brommer
As we pause to celebrate two of our nation’s preeminent leaders on Presidents’ Day, it is valuable to reflect on leadership in the current century.
It’s 2014, and as much as we’d like to believe that there is parity in the area of gender equality in the workplace, unfortunately, we’re not there yet. A survey of more than 1,400 managers worldwide was recently released and sheds some insights into gender diversity in top management.
Future leaders should take note of the study’s conclusions and work to create more inclusive corporate cultures.
Produced by the global management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, the Gender diversity in top management: Moving corporate culture, moving boundaries report is McKinsey’s seventh study in its Women Matter series. Key findings all point to the need to transform corporate culture and mindset to welcome a diversity of leadership styles and gender-neutral performance models.
Given that previous Women Matter reports have illustrated that organizational performance is enhanced in companies with more women in top positions yet women face multiple glass ceilings as they attempt to climb the corporate ladder, leaders must rise to the occasion and support changes in corporate culture attitudes.
A few significant points from the Gender diversity report include the following:
- While women’s ambitions to advance to an executive level were virtually as high as men’s, the women’s level of confidence in the possibility of advancement within the current corporate environment was markedly lower than men’s confidence in their chance of success. According to the study, collective corporate factors were twice as important as individual factors in the perception of one’s chances of success.
- Barriers to women’s advancement in corporate culture were identified as: men’s unawareness of specific obstacles to women and the need for more support from men to increase women’s rise to top-management positions; current performance models that penalize women who find it more difficult to combine work and family lives; and women’s leadership and communication styles considered incompatible with widespread, predominant corporate styles of networking and management.
So, what’s the solution to creating gender-neutral leadership and performance models that bring equity to top management? The McKinsey & Company series of reports consistently point to strategies that transform the corporate environment and must be implemented and sustained over time.
Sponsoring and mentoring programs, general awareness of the barriers faced by women as they strive to advance their careers, systemic gender-neutral and family-friendly policies in work time arrangements, and a culture that embraces multiple and diverse leadership styles are all suggested by the McKinsey & Company researchers.
The ultimate result will be corporate cultures that are good for both men and women, fostering policies that will support and enhance advancement regardless of gender.