Women in Latin America and the Caribbean are experts in managing crises and adapting to change
Differences, advantages and perspectives that women contribute in leadership positions and their impact on organizations, according to the vision of two subject-matter specialists.
Latin America and the Caribbean are not alien to the participation and growth of women as leaders across the globe. Up until May 2014 there were four female presidents coexisting in office (Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Costa Rica); and this trend also appears in the private sector, with a growing number of women in leadership positions.
Betina Rama, specialized consultant and author of the book Liderazgo Femenino (Female Leadership), indicates that in general women in Latin America and the Caribbean are experts in managing crises and adapting to change. “This is the positive result of the economic and political situations that we have lived through. The capacity to manage change and tolerate uncertainties and ambiguities is essential to the success of any enterprise,” she explains.
Meanwhile, for Amalia Vanoli, Director of the human resources consulting firm Tiempo Real, women executives have higher emotional intelligence; they create good work teams where they motivate without losing sight of the results. “Today some organizations prefer women for certain positions. In general these are companies that have experienced the benefits of female leadership and have strong internal policies in support of gender diversity,” she adds.
Female leadership is necessary in teams, organizations and in society: with this, all benefit. That is why we need leaders from both genders to complement each other.
Some of the features that determine female leadership are:
- People-oriented: They are sociable, expressive, and establish close ties, strengthening the possibility of achieving commitments, whether company objectives or a particular project.
- Tendency to cooperate: Making teamwork more natural through actively including and containing people. They also see to it that procedures are carried out in an orderly and sound fashion.
- Capacity to operate in different directions: They possess the innate capacity to think and operate in different directions at the same time. This offers an advantage when making decisions and facing crises.
- Horizontal leadership: Female leadership is inclusive, encourages participation and shares information and power with those she leads. She tends to create and strengthen group identities.
- Emotional prevalence: They are generally capable of considering the “human” side of individuals and generate high levels of empathy.
- More prone to change: Their style is innovative and has a strong sense of quality that is people-oriented, flexible, communicative and persuasive.
Organizations today are more flat and interconnected since changes occur faster than before. This is why “we look for characteristics like collaboration, empathy, sensibility and consensus that relate more to the feminine side. In general women tend to participate more in finding the best solutions within a work team,” says Rama.
According to researchers, when women assume a leadership role they experiment changes in their behavior: some of their unique features are intensified; features that had previously not been part of their character appear stronger; they have a faster discerning capacity and precision in making decisions. The thing is that when women are given the opportunity to lead or to become the head of a team, they take it as a true challenge and fully focus on the project that is taking place.
Attias, Alberto: “El liderazgo femenino es el crecimiento del siglo XXI”. Entre mujeres, Clarín, Argentina. 2014.
Molero Alonso: “Mujer y liderazgo en el Siglo XXI”. Ministerio de Igualdad, España. 2009.
ONU Mujeres: "Las mujeres en el ejercicio del poder y la adopción de decisiones". Nações Unidas, 2014.
Díez Gutiérrez, Enrique Javier e Valle Flórez, Rosa Eva: “El liderazgo femenino y su ejercicio en las organizaciones educativas”. Universidade de León, Espanha.