The success of any woman in business, whether it is in a corporate role or as an entrepreneur, is the simple willingness and desire to continuously develop their own skills. One of The Mindspa Institute’s favourite courses is The Essential Business Skills for South African Women course presented nationwide. During this course, we learn just as much from our delegates as they do from us, but in turn, also get the chance to develop women across the nation into the powerful women that they were meant to be.
Gone are the days where women are ‘frowned upon’ in the business world. Women used to feel like they needed to fit into a ‘man’s world’. But women leaders are on the rise and today there is an urgent call for gender diversity whether it is on a corporate board of directors, or on various entrepreneurial levels, the need for traditionally deemed ‘feministic traits’ are sought after in the world of business.
HR Managers or Recruiters are still asking women questions like “are you a people-person?” or “are you an optimist or pessimist?” or even “do you deem yourself a leader?” and “are you a creative person?”
There are several thoughts that come to mind:
Why do you need to be a ‘people’s person’ or to be able to ‘work well with people’? Shouldn’t you rather ask ‘are you able to work with difficult people?’ People can work with people who are friendly, helpful and easy-going. You naturally form relationships with people you like. Not everyone knows how to deal with conflict or difficult people like disgruntled staff or an upset customer. This requires a special skill set. Many women are better equipped in dealing with difficult customers because they have empathy and are able to put themselves in the other person’s shoes.
Do you work well in a team? Although this is a good question, the focus should be on diversity and how well you can handle communication and being able to collaborate with team members who are diverse, not only in age, ethnic groups, and gender but also with regards to crossing generation gaps, etc. Business women feel like they understand diverse teams better and are able to communicate across the board.
Being open-minded is far more important than that creative streak everyone is asking for. Women in business should manage their teams with an open mind. Creativity always comes when you look at ideas contributed from other team members from all angles.
Are you a leader? Newsflash…research has on numerous occasions shown that women have natural leadership qualities. We are not saying all leaders are born, we are merely pointing out that women have a certain degree of social skills, communication skills and problem-solving skills that come naturally to women leaders. This makes it, to an extent, easier for women to develop their leadership skills more effectively.
Being an optimist or a pessimist can be beneficial either way. The trick is to know when to be what. As with everything in this world, both have their pros and cons. It doesn’t help to remain optimistic until the very end of your unhappy career, sometimes being a bit of a pessimist helps you make much needed changes to get a more fulfilled life.
Personally, we feel that if you don’t have a diverse workforce, you are not tapping into all the skills, views and possibilities there are for you to take advantage of in order to grow your business and be successful.
Business skills are non-negotiable if you want to obtain business success, whether it be on an entrepreneurial level or whether it be at corporate level.