August is Women’s month in South Africa! Sometimes all the “girlie” events at this time of year are not really attractive to me. Busy as I’ve been, I may have just ignored all that, had it not been for a speaking opportunity at the “Women in Leadership” Breakfast on 12th August, organised by Symphonia.

This made me really stop and think about my own career as a woman and about female leaders in general. How often do we compare ourselves with men, assuming that we are – or should be – like them? Too often, and it is not useful.

Leadership is about creating a world to which people want to belong. We don’t learn how to do this only from management textbooks and lectures. We don’t only learn how to do this from men, but also and especially from female rolemodels we all have: the mothers, grandmothers, and aunties in our lives. In discussions with employees in different organisations, I have been told repeatedly that their favourite leaders are the female ones. Somehow these women seem to have intuitively worked out how to touch people, so that they want to belong and follow the lead.

Let us remember to cherish and develop our female qualities, like nurturing, building relationships, and listening. Happy women’s month!

Posted on 23 August 2016. - japanese - korean - - usa - indian