By Siddhi Jain
New Delhi, May 10 (IANSlife) An enabling environment goes a long way in developing leadership skills in any individual. Traditionally seen as a male domain, corporate leadership has seen more and more women in recent times. This Mother’s Day, key players and the industry’s top brass voice out how one can teach women and girls to lead.
“As a society, we are protective of the girls and women in our family. Women grow up in an environment that promotes a lack of self-belief. Years of conditioning leads to women shying away from taking risks and dealing with uncertainties. When women are faced with the choice of giving preference to their career growth or family, they often choose the latter or the ‘safer route’,” Ameera Shah, MD and Promoter, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd. told IANSlife.
According to Shah, who leads a multinational chain of pathology labs, women internalise self-doubt to a great extent and this results in consciously letting go of opportunities that could propel their careers.
Adding to this, Professor Nandita Abraham, President, Pearl Academy notes that girls are rewarded for their adjustment, caring and absorbing nature primarily at home, where our patriarchal society is still strong. “These skills attributed to women are essential in all walks of life, including being a good leader, especially in today’s day and age. But they are not encouraged to make a mark for themselves, have a strong point of view, and fulfil their ambitions to lead from a young age.”
With times changing, supportive families are helping women break the barriers and emerge as strong, capable leaders. While change may begin at the familial level, Corporate-level success often comes with women being able to make their way to the top. “Companies should re-look at their policies and promote a culture that helps more women to come forward, lead, and make inclusive decisions,” says Shah.
Nidhi Marwah, Managing Director – South Asia, The Executive Centre, who was part of the workspace solution brand right from its onset in India, credits her success to an ecosystem that enabled her to step up every time to a bigger challenge. “Having an ecosystem that empowers you to learn and grow is critical. I am also a mother to two lovely daughters and juggling between my professional and personal life has been challenging but extremely rewarding. On tougher days, I just have to look at them to gain that extra strength since I am setting an example for them, at multiple levels,” she told IANSlife.
On skills crucial to leading teams and organisations well, Shah said: “Women need to be open to feedback, find a balance amongst their multiple responsibilities, get comfortable with failure, advocate and speak for themselves and most importantly ask for help when needed. At home, as a society, and at our educational institutes, we need to help improve the confidence levels in women by encouraging them to face their risks, fears, and vulnerabilities.”
Finally, young girls cannot be what they cannot see. Stressing on the need for positive role models, KLAY Preschool and Daycare founder Priya Krishnan said that we need to visualise our victories, so women who are corporate leaders become a symbol which is relatable and girls can look up to them; women who successfully lead and handle crises, can be big positive influence that pulls more women into the workforce, and ultimately into leadership roles.
(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at [email protected])