Also, because she’s a mother, Abood says, employees come to her for solutions to work life issues, rather than quitting. “I think women leaders spend more time addressing employee needs.”
Moreover, researchers say successful women leaders understand people issues in greater depth and see the value in retention. Valerie Holstein, president of Cable Organizer of Fort Lauderdale, says her 50 employees call her “Mother Goose” because she takes the time to deal with details, to find out what makes someone tick and what turns them off and even personalizes rewards.
Holstein, a mother of two, says the empathy and nurturing she brings to the workplace has been a powerful motivator, driving her team to perform at 100 percent. She offers flexibility, continuing education and continual opportunity for advancement.
During her 11 years in business, Holstein says she has mastered listening to others, empowering them, and moving them toward where she wants them to go. That leadership style has helped her build Cable Organizer, an online electrical and telecom distributor, into a profitable internet retailer and a top women-led business in Florida. “As a women owner, if you want loyalty, everything you do, every move you make has to be excellent.”
Another key differentiator, female leaders repeatedly say they want to make a difference in their community as well as make money. Founded just four years ago by CEO Mayi De La Vega, ONE Sotheby’s International Realty’s saw a 30 percent growth year over year in 2012 while incorporating a giving back program into its business plan. De La Vega encourages her agents to give a portion of commissions to charities for women and artists.
“We have an ongoing education process for our agents to fall in love with these charities and understand the causes.” As a women leader, De La Vega feels she’s bottom line oriented, but in a different way than a male would be. She says her job is to create an environment that makes work and life responsibilities easier for her 300 agents, 40 staff members, and the community.
“I think money will come. It’s byproduct of creating the right environment.”
Of course, I realize there are women who rise up to become leaders or “queen bees,’’ only to hold other women back. But I’d like to think we’re going in the other direction. I’d like to believe the future for working families will improve as more women take the helm and use their unique strengths. Leadership coach and author Debora McLaughlin believes we’re on that path: “Women think of ways to build community in the company. When you are working from a shared vision, performance increases and profitability happens.”
Workplace columnist Cindy Krischer Goodman is CEO of BalanceGal, a provider of news and advice on how to balance work and life. Connect with her at balancegal@gmail.
com or worklife