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Female leadership qualities will be in demand as companies look to meet the challenge of the new business environment

Emerging Leaders report

Emerging leaders study confirms that natural female leadership skills could create advantage as economies emerge from crisis

17th June 2014

Female leadership qualities will take centre stage as companies seek to take advantage of improved business conditions, according to a study by global talent solutions company, Hudson.  The study, which looked at the skills and aptitudes of emerging business leaders across Europe, identified a number of key behaviours which will be in demand as businesses seek to transform and adapt to take full advantage of the improvement in economic conditions.

The study showed the gap between emerging male and female leaders to be narrowing but with female emerging leaders showing particular  natural strength in their ability to adapt to changing conditions and choosing the right style to lead different stakeholder groups.  

Attributes such as a conceptual view, ability to cope with change and the use of a participative and co-operative leadership style, will prove to be a great advantage within the post recession environment – natural attributes that are seen predominantly among females.

The study entitled ‘Emerging Leaders in Europe: Differences that matter’, was led by Jeroen Bogaert, global head of research and development at Hudson, and examined responses to Hudson’s Business Attitude Questionnaire of over 600 emerging leaders across Europe.  These findings were then compared to those from over 150,000 executives and C-Level leaders in order to identify growth factors.

Tim Drake, head of talent management at Hudson UK said:

“Our study shows that the natural skills of female leaders will be in high demand to ensure success in the post-recession environment.  Forward-thinking companies will embrace these skills as they seek to manage their way through rapid change, fragile growth opportunities and ambiguity.

“The reality is that female leaders are likely to have a natural aptitude in key areas of change management, communication and people orientation, all of which will be key in the future.

“The financial and economic crisis, coupled with the changes created by the “new millennial” generation, will begin to influence corporate behaviour and this will see organisations react in new ways in order to succeed.  We no longer have the hierarchical structures that were once in place, with many individuals possessing a high degree of technical expertise having to take on more responsibility to help fill that void.

“The environment we are now entering requires a different type of leader, and according to our research, could see the demand for female leadership qualities grow. That’s not to say that male leaders cannot develop or hone these qualities, it’s simply that females have the upper hand at the moment.

“With many organisations having had to reduce or freeze headcount in recent years, the emerging leader pool is now greatly depleted.  As a result, organisations now need to look at ways to obtain a greater understanding of what motivates and drives their emerging leader population so that they can not only engage and help them to develop these skills, but most challenging, retain them as valued assets.”

According to the report, there will be five key growth factors for emerging leaders in the post recessionary environment: -

  • Vision – having the capacity to effectively create a personal view and vision by employing the capacity to integrate and make sense of complex information from different sources.
  • Action – Demonstrating the capacity to take wise decisions and to manage uncertainty and change effectively to give direction to people to stay focussed.
  • Impact – Having the capacity to inspire others and to unleash their potential and talent by having a strong impact and showing role model behaviour that inspires others.
  • Human – Having the ability to build and maintain positive relationships with people and groups from different backgrounds and cultures, both inside and outside the organisation.
  • Drive – Demonstrating a strong desire, confidence and resilience to pursue ambitious goals and objectives in a sustainable manner with a high level of learning agility.

Tim Drake said:

“There is no doubt that we are at the door of a very challenging decade.  Many factors that have been individual challenges in the past are coming together to create a wave that will swamp organisations and more critically, HR departments if they do not plan ahead and create a “people leadership strategy” that goes beyond the traditional tried and tested routines.

“Defining what “leadership talent “ means and then developing a strategy to engage, acquire and develop it at all levels must now be a top priority for organisations.”

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