Women shouldn't have to emulate men to be successful

But most organisational cultures still favour masculine leadership qualities.

Women often feel that, in order to succeed in their careers, they have to conform to outdated stereotypes and act like men. But this is down to organisational culture, particularly in large corporates and multinationals where women seldom rise to senior positions within their organisations, and stay there, without having to emulate the leadership styles or characteristics of their male counterparts.

In fact, the natural traits of women, such as their propensity to empathise nurture, give them an upper hand in being able to grow people, motivate them and, therefore get the best out of employees.

In 2013, research by British telecommunications firm O2 suggested the lack of female role models at the top of business was partly to blame for why so many women felt the need to look or act like their male colleagues to succeed.

Phiona Martin, a registered Industrial Psychologist, says that, in order to have a truly diverse workforce, all employees should be encouraged to act and behave as themselves without causing them to feel as though this could limit their careers.

“Men are generally extrinsically driven by a desire for status, power, money, winning power games and social comparisons, whereas women present themselves as being intrinsically motivated by a desire to do a good job and contribute to organisational functioning,” says Martin.

“Women’s characteristics, natural behaviours and values need to be legitimised and given a platform in order to level the playing field between the two sexes without discriminating against either.”