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Equality balances boardroom books says F5 Networks

Equality balances boardroom books says F5 Networks

 August 01, 2018

Female talent is sparking a paradigm shift at the executive top table and overturning traditional boardroom cultures to increase business growth.

"Women in leadership roles are no longer operating from the sidelines," says an F5 employee, but showing how to build sustainable strategies and make incisive decisions that add value to customers and the bottom-line. Many commentators have highlighted the gender disparity at senior levels, but how are women in the workplace today able to overcome the obstacles and intelligently navigate the turbulent waves in the executive suite?

All-male boards are losing out on potential profits

Publicly-traded companies with all-male boards were tallied to have lost out on $655 billion in potential profits across India, the UK and the US, according to research from accountancy firm Grant Thornton. "In the technology industry, I am encouraged by the growing appetite for driving diversity with the goal of boosting performance and corporate dynamism," comments an employee. While barriers still exist, the process of overcoming hurdles can often yield valuable skills that men fast-tracked to the top may not have. The onus is ultimately on the individual. Women need to meet corporate challenges head-on, whereas businesses need to better understand the nuance and power of non-traditional developmental routes up the corporate ladder.

"From my perspective, women leaders in the technology sector think ‘Faster, Smarter and Safer’," says an employee. "Faster in terms of being better equipped to make effective decisions and to react swiftly to market dynamics; Smarter at utilising knowledge to intelligently guide the operation successfully in turbulent times; and Safer by having the right set of people, tools and skills in place. Women who succeed also tend to emerge as effective and highly influential role models, inspiring others to progress their careers to the summit."

Women leaders demonstrate stronger soft skills

The return on investment for adequately and appropriately supporting female talent clearly helps firms to scale the talent pool, expand their service capability and, crucially, positively impact overall operational profitability. Many behavioural studies have revealed that women leaders tend to demonstrate stronger communication, cooperation, affiliation and nurturing skills than men who tend to be more goal-oriented and less focused on relationships and processes. Evidently, boardroom diversity can unlock and optimise new ways of strategic thinking that benefit everyone.

According to a report by the Rockefeller Foundation, only 21 women are at the helm of Fortune 500 Companies. Most market analysts would agree that if equality and opportunity were like a balance sheet, then women are clearly operating in the red. However, on a global scale, women are making a significant difference.

"The recipe for success to be an effective international leader, in my opinion, is like being a beacon of best practice – an individual who is a magnet for management that attracts all the traits needed to guide, educate, influence, analyse, communicate, inspire and orchestrate stakeholders across the commercial network," says an F5 employee. "For women to be handed the keys to the boardroom door and take a seat at the top table, they need to hone their business skills and demonstrate the necessary disciplines. Susan L. Colantuono, CEO of Leading Women, noted in an interview that when determining whether a woman can lead the business “executives look for business, strategic and financial acumen.” This is what she calls the “missing 33% of the career success equation for women.”

A Balanced View

Are the tables turning towards an equal balance of talent in the boardroom? The irony is that whilst women in senior positions are statistically low across the globe, the firms that close the gender gap tend to experience major improvements in operational and trading results.

Women are not necessarily better than men at fulfilling leadership roles or vice versa. It is more a case of achieving balanced executive dynamics, skills and a broader range of strategic perspectives that contribute to a robust chain of command. Ultimately, effective leaders are judged on merit and acumen whoever wears the trousers.

Join talented women at F5

F5 Networks values diversity across its workforce and actively encourages talented female candidates to search and apply for exciting career opportunities in global locations such as Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Seattle, and Singapore. There are also several remote working opportunities available across South America.   


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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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