I believe in men and women leading together. Everything is better when we do. That said, if you’re a woman you probably have a #metoo story of one kind or another. Me too! And that fact complicates things. My fear is that if we don’t keep our heads and resolve workplace harassment issues together, it will be women who become the big losers in companies across the country. If men, who still hold most of the power, are uncomfortable, women risk being cut out of important interactions and opportunities for promotion. That’s not the outcome we want.
Entrepreneurial environments cannot function without people who are comfortable with rapid growth and change. Most of the people you hire should not see security as a priority; they should, instead, get “jazzed by chaos.” But that’s not all that’s needed. You want to create a balance of people who thrive on “different, new, and exciting” and people who provide underlying stability that supports the constant change. As a high-growth company, you need a mix of spirited innovators and support staff who can come up with the right processes and procedures as your company evolves.
Micromanaging comes naturally to entrepreneurs, but it frustrates employees and stifles growth. It’s important for leaders to empower their people to run the business and make decisions. With trust as its foundation, empowerment provides the oxygen for innovation and growth. That doesn’t mean you can’t sweat the small stuff, it means that you’ll have a team to do it. Companies grow in stages, and effective leaders let go as their company moves through its lifecycles, often evolving in ways they never imagined.
People at the bottom of the pay scale often struggle to support their families. You can help ease that stress by raising their hourly pay with a seemingly small amount. The benefits of your empathy are many, including saving the cost of turnover and rehiring, preserving institutional knowledge, increasing productivity, and lifting morale. Everyone at every level is important in your business; everything touches customers in one way or another. Not everyone wants to be a leader, and those who want to show up and do a good job deserve respect and fair pay. Penny-pinching makes no economic sense when it comes to your people.
There is no longer any question that diverse leadership teams offer tremendous business benefits. Among other things, women add stronger interpersonal skills, the ability to multitask and get things done, as well as a service mentality. Companies with more female executives and directors perform better and tend to be more profitable. Men and women should lean in and lead together. And since we need more women executives, both women and men must look for opportunities to mentor women, creating better business environments as well as results in the process.