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Women In Remote Management: Unused potential?

 April 6, 2021, 5-min. read
Women In Remote Management

Higher engagement of women in management has been an important topic not only for most corporations. Even the United Nations (UN) dedicated one of their Sustainable Development Goals to gender equality and in this respect to promoting more women into leadership roles. Furthermore, in 2018 the UN reported that only 27 per cent of managerial positions in the world were occupied by women. Being well aware of many of the evidence-based benefits of gender equality, many corporations are seeking solutions using the controversial instrument of quotas, while others invest into motivational and development programmes designed specifically for female leaders. These strategies, however, are not always successful and women are still widely under-represented in executive suites. 

We found two main reason behind that. First, women worry that taking on more responsibilities, on top of their already demanding jobs, community activities, and other side hustles, could negatively affect their personal and family lives. And there is no wonder. Just lately, with the pandemic work-life balance burden falling more on women, I have witnessed women pull off some spy-grade manoeuvres to juggle between their demanding jobs and caretaking – all while settling into life in what some call “the new normal”. Second, women often incline to different behaviours and master a different skillset than what is perceived as required for the “traditional” managerial role. These and other findings in this article are based on an independent research with over 15 000 managers, both women and men, across countries and industries. 

HR Trends 2021

The greatest differences- observed even on women that have chosen to pursue the managerial path- showed to be mainly in three areas:

“If we accept the basic starting point to be that during remote working it is essential to maintain a frequent contact with your team, check in on your team’s situation and needs, actively share and communicate… then we could say that the ideal remote manager is indeed a woman...”

  1. Women (managers) are much more focused on communication and relationship management than most of their male counterparts.

  2. Data then show that when women make decisions they have a higher ability to account for the needs of others. They tend to be more empathetic and display a higher “need” to “take care” of others. Effects of this can be observed even in the most equal societies such as Norway, where half of all women choose to go into female-dominated occupations such as nursing, despite the lower pay. After all, the communications skills and care for others is exactly what then enables women to consider needs of others when making decisions. Men on the other hand proved to be more rational in their decision-making regardless of the acceptance of their actions by others. Therefore, they often opt for less “tact” and “diplomatic” behaviours, being more direct and tough in their communication style. There is also evidence on men making decisions on personal judgement rather than opinions of others. 

  3. Finally, women are not too focused on individual success but rather simply want to do the “right thing”. Even from an evolutionary perspective, women have always been choosing cooperation over a fight, and intensity of their “go-getting” have been often constrained to offspring survival.  

  4. Though remote work has been rising steadily in recent years, it is now that companies finally started assessing what are the must-have traits for remote managers. 

Data even show that while home office affects men’s well-being negatively and increase their stress by 15%, women often report the exact opposite experience. The more women work from home, the higher they perceive their own well-being (rating 12% higher than in the office) and as a result they perceive their job as more compatible with their personal life. 

In that sense, it is fair to ask whether the “home office boom” could also mean a great opportunity for women in managerial roles.

“Dear women everywhere, let’s leverage the current situation as a great opportunity and show what is in us!”

Apart from the soft skills that are crucial for a manager in the remote era, it is managing team’s performance and productivity that are crucial, yet widely overlooked aspects of remote working. Luckily, no matter your experience with leading virtual teams, there are solutions that can help with managing your team’s performance, productivity, and collaboration. 

Women In Remote Management

As the all-in-one remote worker's toolkit, as well as provider of the insights for this article, LutherOne addresses all the critical components of the new ways of working. Individual & team task management, communication and collaboration through internal social media, workspaces & chat, multi-dimensional feedback, weekly engagement surveys, and much more.

More information can be found on www.lutherone.com

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