How Gen Z is transforming the workplace

How Gen Z is transforming the workplace

The corporate world has been abuzz with talk about how to train the millennial generation for a while now. However, times are changing and if we want our businesses to stay ahead of the curve, it’s time we think ahead to the next generation that is growing up and rapidly entering the workforce: Generation Z.

Generation Improviser

 

Born after the mid-’90s and raised in the 2000s, Gen Z already makes up 24% of the workforce. Radically different from millennials, Gen Z “has an entirely unique perspective on careers and how to define success in life and in the workforce” (Deloitte). They’ve grown up during a time of great economic and political instability and are driven towards finding stable and secure jobs. 

However, with the COVID curveball- that has hit us all – has come an even stronger reminder of the importance of a flexible, adaptable and systems-orientated leadership. With an uncertain future and the speed of change accelerating faster than ever before, no generation has needed these leadership qualities more.

So how might we encourage these qualities in Generation Z? And gear our training towards Gen Z and their older- millennial- siblings? We can start to look at what’s new and what’s changing. What are the similarities between Millennials and Gen Z and what are the differences that make Gen Z uniquely different? And what can we learn from these similarities and differences to maximize the talent and energy of our Gen Zers in our workplaces?

Similarities to Millennials:

 

1. Flexibility of Work

One Deloitte study found that 75% of Gen Zers were interested in inhabiting numerous roles within a company. 

At 4D we talk a lot about range- and how- as human beings- we have so much more range than we often realise. And quite often we only use a very small percentage of our range, particularly in our working lives. Whilst this ‘autopilot’ range can serve us well most of the time, it can leave us feeling disconnected in our work and boxed into a certain ‘role.’ So how might you bring a sense of breadth to your Gen Zers role and responsibilities? Encourage them to stretch. If you hear the words ‘that’s not me’ or ‘I’m not very…’ then you know there’s some limiting self-talk going on. And at 4D we believe the unique range of each human being is well…infinite. One only has to look to the world of theatre and study really good actors, to understand that they’re not simply placing a character on top of themselves but stretching into a different part of who they are. And as human beings, we can do the same. 

So, it may not even be necessary for an external role change. How can you motivate a Gen Zer on your team to step into a different internal part of self? Such as their risk-taking part, their organising part, their diligent part, their leader part or their persevering part. Or maybe it’s their inner joker, or serious player or the part of them that sees possibilities rather than problems. So, that they can stretch their sense of self within the specs of that job.

2. Positive workplaces

 

Studies have shown that a positive work environment is important to Gen Z. Up to 70% will look for workplace reviews on websites such as ‘Glassdoor’ before applying for a job. 

A study by Deloitte found that Gen Zers are ‘likely to be loyal to organizations with a positive workplace culture.’ 

Now, of course, it can be hard to stay positive when there’s a lot of pressure on at work. Even more so during 2020! However, as leaders, we must celebrate successes (however small) because of the positive impact of well…positivity! There are numerous psychological and physical benefits to positive environments and emotions like reduced anxiety and a stronger immune system. 

Relationship expert John Gottman has worked out that the golden ratio for successful relationships (this applies for both personal and professional relationships) is 5:1: 5 positive interaction to every negative interaction. A positive interaction doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, it could be as simple as saying “good morning” to your colleagues. Keep filling your emotional bank account, so that you’ve balanced out any negativity for when it does inevitably arise. Because this isn’t about avoiding negativity. If you take the ratio too high- approximately 13 positives to one negative- trust erodes within the relationship. This is because negativity and truth aren’t being expressed. 

So why- given all the benefits- can it be difficult to stay positive? 

Due to the brain’s negative bias, the brain prioritises negative experiences over positive ones because negative experiences pose a chance of danger. This was useful for our ancestors on the savannah – being negatively biased quite literally kept you alive. But now this isn’t so useful. So, we need to update this old operating system, so that it can better serve us and our teams. As leaders how can we inject more positivity into a stressful day? An easy way to do this can be to shift the focus at the start of a meeting. “Which of your colleagues would you like to celebrate this week?” or “What’s one thing you’re proud of?” Simple check-in questions like this start to shift the focus of the team. And what you focus on ultimately shapes your experience of life. 

Do this at the start of your team meeting for two months and see what happens for you- and the Gen Zers- in your team. 

3. Love of Technology

Gen Z has never grown up in a world without the internet, and so technology has become inextricably intertwined with their lives. They are digital natives and have grown up with a smartphone and social media. Which- as the hair-raising Netflix documentary ‘The Social Dilemma’ suggests- has its benefits and its challenges: “Social media starts to dig deeper and deeper, deeper down into the brain stem and take over kids’ sense of self-worth and identity.” So, whether we agree with it or not, the majority of Gen Zers will- to a certain degree- recognize themselves through the lens (or reach) of an online profile. And this is probably true for any of us with some kind of online presence, whether that be Tik Tok, Twitter or Instagram. 

However, social media is not all negative – connecting and communicating virtually can also be incredibly creative. As long as we are conscious and at choice about our use. One only has to look at apps like Snapchat or features like Instagram stories to consider the breadth of communication styles on offer. All these different ways of communicating engage a much wider collection of thinking styles and can empower a wider variety of individuals to have impact without having to say a word.

So, how might you capitalise on Gen Zs fluency and ease with technology? Bring some of these tools into your team meetings and training. At 4D we’ve been taking advantage of some fantastic virtual tools to bring different learning styles and creativity options into our sessions. A 4D favourite right now is Menti– an online polling platform, that has participants voting in real-time, and watching as their votes anonymously show up on the screen. Polling tools like Menti can help you to efficiently scan the team, without having to get a verbal check-in from everyone. With a quick poll, everyone’s ‘voice’ in the room gets heard, without them having to say a word. It also gives you- as the team lead or host- a better sense of what is going on with the whole team, as opposed to just those with the loudest voices. 

 

Differences to millennials:

1. Highly Competitive

 

Gen Z is arguably more success-orientated than any other generation. They are driven and determined and also, more vulnerable to ego triggers. 

Now the ego gets a bad rap but we all have an ego. And we can talk about the ego being big or small but also in terms of being healthy or unhealthy. One of the challenges of needing to be right, sounding clever, or solving a problem can be that an unhealthy ego gets in the way. 

 

  • An UNHEALTHY Ego- is a fragile ego, that feels under attack. The ego believes others have the power to diminish it, so self-punishes or tries to diminish someone else’s ego in order to protect itself.

  • A HEALTHY EGO- is solid and intact. It isn’t dependent on other people to be whole and safe. IT might enjoy praise or win, but it’s not dependent on these things and won’t be devastated if they don’t happen. With a healthy ego, you will be strong, confident and resilient in your abilities, honest about your talents whilst being available to grow, open to constructive feedback, curious in the face of conflict and able to acknowledge mistakes with a clear mind and heart.

So thinking about an ego triggering situation that feels unfair to you. How might you react if you were operating from a…

  • Low-Unhealthy Ego state- Victim
  • High- Unhealthy Ego State- Aggression
  • Low- Healthy Ego State- Acceptance
  • High- Healthy Ego State- Curiosity

Our patterned reactions are there for a good reason. They’re our instinctive reactions and defences that we’ve adapted to keep us safe. So, this isn’t about criticising our triggers- this is about becoming conscious of our default reactions to these triggers so that we can choose to respond differently- as opposed to reacting unconsciously. The difference between the world happening to you and you happening to the world. 

Consider how you can model the healthy ego (in particular the high healthy ego state) by practicing leaning in with curiosity. Maybe you get a tricky question during a presentation or push back from a client- rather than defend yourself or the project or insist you are ‘right’ – how might you lean in with genuine curiosity, and encourage a culture of curiosity for your Gen Zers? 

 

2. Orientated towards job security and salary

 

Whilst millennials were stereotyped as chronic ‘job hoppers’ Gen Z are more interested in long-term job security and stability. Having grown up during a time of great economic and political volatility (they were only 11 when then the 2008 great recession hit) they are interested in finding steady, secure jobs.

However, within these stable and secure jobs, Gen Zers are looking for autonomy. The freedom to work when they want to work, as opposed to fitting their lives around a 9-5 schedule. In his book ‘Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us’ Daniel Pink writes: “Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.”  

In 2020, autonomy has- for many people- been delivered in overdrive with the global pandemic this year. Without the geography of an ‘office’ and the presence of a physical boss, autonomy is perhaps less of a concern than is accountability. So, how can we create a sense of accountability- without intruding on a person’s autonomy? We can encourage self-accountability. Team check-ins over zoom or team spaces where colleagues feedback to their team are a great way of keeping virtual teams connected whilst also fostering a sense of personal purpose and pride in the individual’s work. 

Recognising that everyone on your team is a voice of that team or ‘system’ is a powerful way of empowering people- particularly the younger members of your team or organisation. Your grads and Gen Zers will benefit greatly from feeling respected and trusted, through autonomous work and a model of positive reinforcement and self-accountability. 

3. Entrepreneurial

 

Gen Zs are entrepreneurial in spirit and are often working on a side hustle, whether that be a small craft business they run on Etsy or a part-time photography gig. The entrepreneurial and the improviser mindset have a lot in common- and both have the potential to make great leaders. So how can we release this leadership capacity within our Gen Zers? Invest in training Gen Z early, particularly those identified as having high potential. Whilst they might just be at the start of their corporate careers, they come with a unique perspective on our interdependence with technology and will be the generation to lead us into a century of development and change like no other. Help them become great communicators so they can share their unique perspectives with your wider business and customers, with a sense of gravitas and credibility.

 

This also plays into Gen Z’s desire to find workplaces with a diversity of rich learning experiences and opportunities for personal growth. Whilst salary is important to Gen Z, they are still motivated by work satisfaction. According to a Deloitte study“Gen Z, employers must be ready to adopt a speed of evolution that matches the external environment. That means developing robust training and leadership programs, with a real and tangible focus on diversity.” 

For Gen Z, actions speak louder than words, which is what we’re all about at 4D Human Being. Helping people to mind the gap between how they think they’re being and how they’re coming across so that they can consciously create the impact they choose.

Are your Gen Zers happening to the world or is the world happening to them? 

 

Our personal impact programs empower the Gen Z workforce along the path towards conscious communication and an awareness that they are always at choice. 

Choose Your Impact

Choose Your Impact


Do you focus more on your intentions or your impact? And which one is more important…

 

This has been a central theme for us at 4D Human Being since we began all those years ago! Working in leadership, communications skills, coaching and development programmes means this subject is incredibly important to us. While we focus heavily on conscious intention, one of our company taglines has for a long time been “Helping Leaders, Teams and Individuals consciously create their impact every day.” So, intention or impact, which should we focus on more…?

 

This question is not only relevant in terms of organisational leadership and communication. It is relevant to whatever work you do. It is relevant in your personal life. And it is definitely relevant in every single one of your relationships. From the intimate to the every day to the people you may only meet once in your life. And today this topic is hugely relevant when it comes to how we explore and communicate social injustice, systemic racism and any number of inequalities in our communities and in wider society. Whether we are trying to engage our teams with motivational sales targets, whether we are presenting a keynote at a global conference, whether we are trying to keep children interested in online schooling, whether we are navigating our personal relationships through and out of lockdown, or whether we are tackling urgent social justice issues – have we checked in with and set our underlying intention? And even if we have, what is our ultimate impact..?

This article is all about exploring the every day and the very human idea of intention vs impact. Join us as we look at different ways we can help to bring our intentions and our impact into alignment.

 


Intention vs Impact

 

How many times, when challenged, have you heard or yourself used the response … “but that wasn’t my intention” or “That wasn’t what I meant.”

I’m going to guess we’ve all heard that excuse and used it ourselves more times than any of us could count. Of course we have. Because so often it will have been true. When there is a breakdown in communication, when wires get crossed, when we accidentally upset someone, when we haven’t been fully conscious of what we were saying… the resulting impact certainly wasn’t our intention. So then surely we’re not to blame?

About twenty years ago a friend of mine told me about an incident in a key cutting shop. She had walked into the shop and inadvertently knocked over a stand with hundreds of ready-to-cut keys on it. The key stand and the keys fell onto an elderly lady. The shop owner and another customer started reprimanding my friend who defended herself by saying it was an accident. She didn’t mean to topple the stand. As she recounted the story to me, still smarting from the reaction from her fellow shoppers, she said “I mean if I had walked into that shop with the sole intention of knocking a key stand onto an old lady – then fair enough, have a go at me. But that was clearly not my intention.”

At the time I fully accepted her position. However, after many years of working in corporate communication skills, I started to see things multi-dimensionally. Because intention and impact need to be taken together. They cannot be isolated. We need to focus on both. Whether we are talking about a disappointing presentation from your boss or an argument with your partner – whether the intention was good or not, the impact is what it is, and we need to take responsibility for both. That’s where learning can come in. That’s when we can take on new information and new skills so that we can begin to take charge of our impact. Not just our intention.

In the case of my well-intended friend, the elderly lady in the shop still had to deal with the shock of a fountain of keys suddenly being showered all over her. If we play with the idea of taking responsibility for the impact of accidentally hurling keys over an innocent customer, then maybe we would then be open to thinking more consciously about how we enter small unfamiliar stores with more caution, care and awareness. That learning could be really useful to us and to other people in the future.

 


Mind the Gap

 

As we always say at 4D Human Being, there is pretty much always a gap between our intention and our impact. But by taking responsibility for our impact then we can start to close that gap. And when we close the gap between intention and impact, we really put ourselves in the driver’s seat of our lives. We take a massive step towards living more consciously and with more awareness.

After all we are not the story we keep locked in our heads. We are the story we tell and communicate to the world. Whether that is through words, tone, actions, body language or facial expressions. When we become aware of our impact physically, emotionally and intellectually then we can start to manage how we show up in the world and we can bring our intention and impact closer and closer together.


System 2

 

The problem with solely focusing on intention is that we spend a lot of time operating on autopilot or what Daniel Kahneman calls ‘System 1’. According to Kahneman, System 1, sometimes known as intuitive thinking, “operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort and sense of voluntary control.” Whereas System 2 “allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations. The operations of System 2 are often associated with the subjective experience of agency, choice, and concentration.” Switching on system 2 is what bridges the gap between intention and impact. However, operating with this much more conscious intentionality is tiring and time consuming. Autopilot is efficient and easy and will more often than not take over, which is why our intention and our impact are so often out of alignment. This is why awareness is only the first step.

 


Unconscious Bias

 

With autopilot comes unconscious bias, where our ‘unconscious intention’ will be dictated by unconscious beliefs. Not because we are a bad person. But because we have been conditioned and socialised in certain ways. We’ve just always done our presentations like that. That’s how our first boss did them when we started in our first job, so that’s how we learnt to do them and even though they are mediocre at best, we simply don’t know any other way. Similarly, unconscious bias – when it comes to gender or race or any other area- will be dictated by what we have absorbed up until that moment. From society, education, family, parents, peers, communities and our own continued self-reflection. Some of which may need some serious updating because it too may lead to some behaviours and impact that just isn’t good enough anymore.


Feedback

 

Feedback on our impact is vital if we really do want to close the gap between intention and impact and if we really do want to become the person, we know we can become and communicate at a whole new conscious level. (And this is also true for those of us who find positive feedback difficult to accept or believe!)

Being ashamed of receiving feedback on our impact is the very thing that will hold us back from becoming better. Whether that’s becoming a far better communicator or becoming far more conscious about daily micro-aggressions and learning how to simply stop doing them.

Feedback on our impact is precious. As writer, Robin di Angelo talks about in her book ‘White Fragility’ – feedback is hard to give and so we need to cherish it and thank the person giving us the feedback – for the courage they showed in giving it to us. When people stop giving you feedback on your impact, you should be worried. It means they are either frightened of your response or they have given up on caring about your human potential and development.  Get feedback and get fabulous. You already are…you just might need to close the gap a little!


Impactful Awareness

 

Awareness is our superpower. It enables us to be curious and stay open to the idea that we may not be perfect. From here we can start to close the gap between our intention – how we think we’re being – and our impact – how others experience us.

From there we as individuals can then impact the wider system as we model a more conscious way of being and help others begin to do the same. 

 

If you choose to be interested in growing, learning and welcoming of those who care enough about you and who trust you enough to offer up feedback, your intentions and impact will start to fall into alignment. From here, life will start to feel a little bit less like an uphill climb and more like a dance in the moment. It’s a day-to-day practice and a journey that will help you to become someone who can consciously create the impact you choose – every day!

Micro Experiences, Macro Effects

Micro Experiences, Macro Effects

A few weeks ago, I was flying to Dubai to talk at a leader’s conference and I managed to sleep through the food service. When I woke up and asked if there was any food, the hostess responded with an abrupt and unhelpful “no.” Now there’s a truth to this: I had missed the ‘official’ meal time. However, in this brief moment the air hostess was creating a micro experience for me. A micro experience that left me hungry and wishing I’d flown with another airline…

Why are micro experiences important?

In this article we’re magnifying our interactions, in order to understand how micro experiences- the small, simple moments you might miss- can have macro effects. All of our interactions, good and bad, are made up of multiple micro-moments. Even one sales call involves numerous micro-moments, and the sum of those experiences will shape the customer’s experience of the company. So, this month we’re asking the following: are you conscious of the micro experiences you are creating in the everyday? And can you appreciate the micro experiences that other people are creating for you? Don’t underestimate their power. These seemingly small and simple moments create a ripple effect that can impact the dynamic of a whole relationship. To echo Google’s micro-moments advertisement campaign, “Life isn’t lived in years, or days, or even hours. It’s lived in moments.” And I believe this is true for all of our experiences, whether they be personal or professional, intimate or global.

 

 

How can we use micro experiences?

Personally and professional we want positive experiences, not just transactional relationships. In a recent key note, Adobe executive Brad Rencher said that: “As consumers, we’ve become quite demanding. And the theme that ties this all together isn’t the things we want, it’s the experiences we demand – the sum total of all of a customer’s interactions with a brand, from awareness to purchase to consumption, are now critical… so at each touch point, consumers feel uniquely understood and important.” For the customer, positive micro experiences are the moments that “delight me at every turn” (Adobe, Experience Index.) They are the bite-sized moments that make customer service and everyday interactions feel present and personal.

Micro sizing customer service

Micro experiences are what differentiate you personally and they are what differentiate organisations commercially. Aside from offering the lowest prices one of the best ways a company can differentiate from their competitors is by providing superior customer service. According to Adobe’s Experience Index, 78% of people agreed with the following statement: “whether in store or online, businesses should provide a personal service.” Which involves putting people before products. Flipping the formula so that it’s not simply a service or a transactional relationship: we want customer service and every day interactions to be personal. WeWork (a shared office space company who started out in 2010) demonstrates the power of putting people before products, as this year, the company became the largest corporate office occupier in central London. Miguel McKelvey co-founder of WeWork stated that: “As a company we really don’t care about numbers, what we care about is delivering an experience. When we have meetings, we don’t discuss square foot objectives. Instead, we ask ‘How can we make sure that the experience is awesome today?’” It’s interesting that McKelvey lands on ‘today’ because great customer service is about meeting customers where they at, in the present moment. People- at both a cellular and consumerist level- are constantly changing. So, consistent customer service is about striking a dynamic balance: a type of balance found in motion and built out of many, many micro experiences.

 

David Eldeman (global co-leader of Digital McKinsey) gives a great example of how companies can harness the power of micro experiences: “a moment when you’re travelling is wanting to get into your hotel room and not have to queue to check-in. With the Starwood app, you can check-in right on the app. As soon as you enter the property, beacons recognise that you’re there. You verify your identity with a fingerprint (if you’re on an iPhone), the app provides your room number and then you simply hold your phone up to the entranceway to the room and in you go. That’s an amazing way for a brand to help you in a moment.” Both of these companies are no longer interested in selling office space or hotel rooms: they are interested in selling their customer’s an experience. And this model of customer service can be applied to almost any organisation: make it about the people, not the products by creating positive interactions through micro experiences. Starting as soon as they pick up the phone…

 

The Power of Personal

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in our hearts”


 – Winnie the Pooh.

On a personal level how do we create micro experiences every day? According to Wikipedia personal experience is the “moment-to moment experience and sensory awareness of internal and external events or a sum of experiences forming an empirical unity such as a period of life.” So, personal service is made up of multiple, positive micro experiences. A great example comes from my colleague Katie who recently got married. The lady hosting the wedding reception created so many micro experiences in the build-up to the wedding- simple, small gestures like a free drink and a meal whenever they dropped by- that nothing on the big day could have possibly shaken her experience of the host. Even the misdelivered crab for the starters was dismissed with a laugh because ultimately the many, many micro experiences meant so much more than this one potential ‘disaster’.

 

Equally, we can take the shine out of positive experiences if we don’t manage the micro experiences. Another example from Katie involves a property management company who are going to be looking after her flat while she’s living in America. They’ve taken the most amazing photos of her flat and have created a fantastic Airbnb profile. But these great experiences have been undermined by a lack of contact and clarity. The micro-moments, the moments that might not seemingly matter (like taking 5 days to reply to an email) have hugely impacted her relationship with the company. And micro experiences have macro effects because as we all know: every happy customer is a walking, talking endorsement for the company.

 

Make the most of the moment you’re in

“Wealth stays with us a little moment if at all: only our characters are steadfast, not our gold.”


-Euripides

How can you become an expert at creating memorable and impactful micro experiences? As my partner Tom used to say, rather than thinking, “I wonder what will happen today?”ask yourself this: “I wonder what I will create today?” Suddenly, you’ve switched the script: you’ve chosen to consciously create your impact, in each and every (micro) moment.

Whilst the air hostess I mentioned at the start might have not been able to offer me a meal, she missed an opportunity to shape my experience. I wonder whether instead of a “no”, she could have offered me some snacks, fruit or even just a tea. And perhaps my experience would have been very different had I been flying first class simply. However, I believe positive micro experiences aren’t to do with cost because ultimately what makes them magical isn’t the stuff: it’s the present and personal interaction with the person in front of you. It’s a smile, a heartfelt thank you or a “this is what I can do” because it’s just as easy (and free) for someone in economy class to offer us as smile as it is for someone in first to not. So, with this is mind, can we challenge ourselves to give away micro experiences for free? Because if we allow micro experiences to transcend class and cost we can give them away to everybody.

 

Thankfully, there are always opportunities to practice this skill. Even when you’re waiting in line for your coffee. How do you want to interact with the person working on the till? Your interaction might last less than 30 seconds but in those few seconds you are creating an impact whether you choose to take charge of those seconds or not. So, it’s up to you whether you decide to shape the experience…for yourself and for all the other people in the coffee shop. How are they going to feel after you leave the shop…?

“Yet what each one does is by no means of little moment. The grass has to put forth all its energy to draw sustenance from the uttermost tips of its rootlets simply to grow where it is as grass; it does no vainly strive to become a banyan tree; and so the earth gain a lovely carpet of green.”


-Rabindranath Tagore

Of course, consciously creating micro experiences all the time would be exhausting and incredibly difficult. We are human: we have brains, bodies and buzzes in our pockets that are constantly taking us away from the moment. Therefore, we have to choose when we want to show up. We have to decide which moments matter most. This might be as simple as stopping yourself briefly before putting your key in your front door this evening. A short pause that brings your back to the present moment and connects you to the people around you. From here you can ask yourself: what micro experiences do I want to create today? And what positive micro experiences are going to be created for me?

Remember: it’s the simple things in life.

 

The Case for Female Executives

The Case for Female Executives

There’s no doubt about it – it really is time for us ladies to ‘Step Up’ and make some noise about our talents, ask for what we want and get some amazing things done.

And the good news is – the numbers, the facts and the stats are there to support to us.

Recent research conducted by Dow Jones suggests companies that include female senior executives are more likely to succeed than companies where only males are in charge.

The study found that companies have a greater chance of either going public, operating profitably or being sold for more money than they’ve raised when they have females in senior positions The median proportion of female executives in successful companies was 7.1% compared to 3.1% at unsuccessful companies.

According to investment executive Theresia Gouw Ranzetta “diversity is good for a company because it brings in different points of view when decisions have to be made. Women are more likely to think of different types of customers to target and different ways to sell to them. They think more out of the box. Women also tend to be more conservative than men, which is both good and bad. Financially, they may raise less money than men, which makes them more capital-efficient, but they’re also more likely to sell a company when they get a good offer, rather than to keep it independent or take it public for a bigger success down the road.”

Women are also more concerned about the emotional well-being of their team. Having more female employees, especially at the management and executive level, not only helps broaden the talent pool in a talent-constrained environment, it also brings shareholder returns through greater innovation and performance.

A Hay Group study conducted on 163 executives in the United States showed that outstanding female executives, when compared to their typical counterparts and male executives, created greater engagement from their direct reports, which supports high performance.

In 2007, Catalyst reported that, on average, companies with three or four female directors had 83 per cent greater return on equity, 73 per cent better return on sales and 112 per cent higher return on invested capital.

In 2011, Catalyst found that top-quartile companies (with 19-44 per cent women Board representation) had extra 26 per cent of Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) when compared to bottom quartile companies (with zero women directors).

In 2011, McKinsey found that companies with three or more women in top positions received notably higher Organisational Health Index.

Women who sit on corporate boards display skills that often translate into better decisions and financial success for the company, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics. It found that of the 624 board directors polled in Canada, women were more likely to use “co-operation, collaboration and consensus building” when dealing with complex decisions. While male directors more often made decisions by using “rules, regulations and traditional ways of doing business.”

The research also showed that the way women operate as directors often contributed to a company’s success. The finds, part of a larger study conducted between 2004 and 2012, presented morally conflicting scenarios to board members, asking them to solve them and explain how they came to their conclusion. Of those surveyed, 75% were male and 25% were female.

Bart, who did the research with Gregory McQueen of A.T. Still University in Arizona, says the answers from female directors showed that they were “less constrained” in their problem-solving skills than male directors. Bart says the study signals that boards, investors and shareholders, all benefit when there are more female directors. “There’s a huge pool of qualified, available women who would certainly be eligible based on their experiences to fill the boardroom seats,” he said. “(Companies) drum up all sorts of excuses as to why women aren’t being appointed to the board but they’re no longer holding water.”

It also found that women were more likely to take into account interests of multiple stakeholders and viewed fairness as an important factor in their decision-making. “Men are pack animals and they are very much quick to recognize the hierarchy of the alpha males in the group,” he said. “They would be very unhappy with people coming in with different values or views to the board.”

So hold onto those facts ladies next time you question whether you should step up and take centre stage.

Plus, by focusing on your colleagues’ well-being, you can shine the spotlight on your brilliant female qualities – all while being confident and generous enough to acknowledge the brilliant men with whom you work and collaborate everyday.