18. May 2022

Employee management: From talent to leadership

In today's working world, new skills are in high demand. Coaches are needed instead of authorities. Managers should develop people instead of using them. How do companies make the leap to a new leadership culture and what do managers need to consider when promoting and recruiting?

The boss is the authority figure. Once the standard, this leadership style is increasingly becoming a thing of the past. Today, other competencies are in demand. Leaders support their employees and bring out their best by coaching them. They foster a sense of “we” rather than “I”. And employees are allowed to make mistakes – because new things are created from mistakes.

But where and how to find talented people who have precisely these competencies in their toolkit? An article in the Handelszeitung of October 2021 writes “Women are the better managers” and refers to a study by the consulting firm Zenger Folkman, which appeared in the Harvard Business Review. According to the study, women outperform men in 17 of 19 leadership competencies. Does this mean that companies should only recruit women for leadership positions? No. Because it still takes a diverse team to bring different perspectives to a company.

But let’s take a look at the facts: In Switzerland, roughly the same number of men as women graduate from university or a university of applied sciences (source: Federal Statistical Office 2020/2021). Women also hold 50% of all non-management positions. In top management, however, 83% are men (source: Gender Intelligence Report). What happens in between? You’d think the ratio would be more balanced. While women have strong modern leadership skills, they are often reluctant to put themselves front and center. A further contributing factor is that more women than men work part-time. The higher the level, the fewer women reach it. This is also referred to as the glass ceiling. How can this be broken and how do companies achieve more diverse leadership teams?

The Gender Intelligence Report offers numerous tips to ensure that women and men are equally represented in leadership positions in the future:

Recruit inclusive personalities: This starts with making sure all corporate communications (imagery, tone, etc.) are inclusive. Hire for potential, not just experience – you may also be able to expand your profile criteria catalog to attract more female candidates (esp. in the tech industry). Review your evaluation criteria for job applicants.

Make your female talent visible: get women into roles with profit-and-loss responsibilities early. Review your promotion criteria.

Redefine “career”: create flexible, agile and inclusive career paths for all genders, consider parenthood as a normal part of men’s and women’s careers, and actively encourage women to return after maternity leave.

This is just one excerpt from an entire catalog of measures suggested by the report. But with just a few steps, you can already achieve a great deal.

But even as an individual, you can already do a lot to advance your career:

Look for female role models and mentors with whom you can exchange ideas.

When opportunities arise, don’t make decisions based on deficits, but on your interests and passion and the potential for your personal growth.

And as a provider of continuing education, we naturally recommend continuing education. But this should be well chosen and tailored to the development of your personal leadership potential.

 

Our Tip:

The Aiming Higher Women’s Leadership Programme enables women to identify their personal strengths and leadership style and receive expert feedback. You will discuss different leadership approaches with peers and strengthen your soft skills required for roles with greater responsibility.

The article was first published on jobs.nzz.ch.

About the author
Kathrin Ott Kathrin Ott studied Tourism & Hospitality Management and completed her Master of Advanced Studies in Communication Management with specialization in strategic communication, online marketing and brand management. From 2014 to 2017, she was responsible for the marketing of the Law & Management division at the Executive School. From 2015, she was in charge of marketing for the advanced education course Women Back to Business as well as for the Competence Center for Diversity & Inclusion at the Research Institute for International Management at the University of St.Gallen. Since January 2022, she has been Marketing Manager for the Open Enrolment Programs at Central Services.