Can a focus on innovation help shatter the glass ceiling?

Summary from the Women’s Lunch (Collaborative Circle) hosted by Griffith Hack

Women in Innovation Leadership is a hot topic around the globe, so it was great to welcome female leaders of innovation to one of our Women’s Lunches.

Thank you very much for a very informative and thought provoking discussion. It was great to network with such a diverse and inspiring group of female leaders, and Lynne Teo did an outstanding job at facilitating this. Thanks again for the invitation, I was very grateful to receive it. Roche

Over lunch, Lynne Teo facilitated discussions and entertained and informed us through her clever and descriptive drawings which tracked the outcomes of the conversation.

The key question, I suppose, was whether a focus on innovation within organisations provided more opportunities for women?

Does the style of leadership demanded by an organisation aspiring to develop a culture of innovation suit women better?

Participants were wary about making generalisations about specific gender strengths, noting that poor management practices could be present in female or male-dominated organisations. Equally, many males display attributes generally associated with female leaders, ie, collaborating, team building and support.

Nevertheless, data (Bain and Company survey) reveals both genders rate women lower on the attributes associated with traditional leadership – problem-solving influencing, delegating – but more highly in other areas often associated with an innovative culture – supporting, consulting, mentoring, rewarding.

The discussion left me with a number of questions, which may well be the subject of further lunches.

  • Are organisations looking for a different leadership style to foster a culture of innovation, based on the ability to communicate, collaborate, support and mentor?
  • Are they looking for leaders who are more resilient, flexible and able to multitask? If so, will women feel more confident about putting themselves forward for promotional positions and will men support them in doing so?
  • Will male leaders recognise the importance of these interpersonal skills and attributes and develop their own capability so that they can apply them to foster a culture of innovation?

Written by Tess Julian, Hargraves.

Note: All Hargraves events are coordinated at the request of corporate members to facilitate collaboration around member nominated topics and issues.

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