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Mar 8, 2018

International Women's Day | Strategies for more inclusive leadership

International Women's Day | Strategies for more inclusive leadership

International Women's Day

The current trend to make leadership in organizations more diverse is recognized and the issue of quotas recurrently appears on the media agenda as "the" solution to transform the management landscape and organizational culture. As a fervent believer in the value of meritocracy as a factor of progression in a professional context and in the selection of candidates, I view with some skepticism impositions towards a goal that, I believe, will very naturally be achieved. But it is now undeniable that pressure exists for organizations to adapt to a changing market and a new profile of recipients..

The trend seems to be towards increased pressure from the stakeholders in organizations to improve what they perceive as weak diversity scores. This comes in the face of a growing body of metrics and case studies indicating that organizations embracing more diverse leadership perform better than those maintaining traditional management. The effects are already being felt in leading organizations, as evidenced by the fact that the majority of board positions filled in the companies ranked "Standard & Poor's 500" in the last year have been occupied by female and ethnic minority managers.

The transformation seems inevitable and associated with a forced cultural evolution, which is also a key element in creating a better gender balance in the workplace and to which organizations will have to respond. If we pay attention to the number of women who deservedly reach the top of their organizations, we notice that this number is increasing. And if we look at the university context, the future promises to be even more remarkable in this regard.

But how can leaders in an organizational context ensure that when the opportunity to recruit a manager presents itself, they are effectively prepared to seize it? The answer seems to lie in a vision that integrates understanding the reality of the market, in an effort to leverage internal talent and in defining the profiles to integrate a team.

Sensitivity is required today to avoid restricting the search for leadership to a set of criteria that limit it to a particular sector of activity, career path or positions held. The search for candidates with alternative profiles will require a natural reorientation and adaptation to which organizations must be prepared to respond.

As a communications professional, I can't help but evaluate this issue in light of the challenges faced in this context. We see successful brands as those that seek to innovate in their processes and solutions and that know their audience and their needs. Only in this way is it possible to create an effective message that fulfills the expected purpose. It is this ability to understand the circumstances around us and to adapt to them that is also present in the search for greater diversity in leadership.

Recognizing the needs we address, designing solutions to meet them and empowering the most capable professionals become the key factors for us to grow, evolve and be successful organizations.


Marta Gonçalves

Managing Partner, Say U Consulting



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