Why women should see greater success than men in business
It is yawningly obvious that men and women are truly different. But who makes the better entrepreneur? Obviously, this topic has the potential to be controversial and irk the sensibilities of both men and women. (Ladies, I am not treading the path of a male chauvinist here. Please bear with me. Patience is indeed a virtue!) So it would be prudent to understand the traits of successful entrepreneurs, who have built great companies, big and small… When you’ve had a great idea, developed a unique value proposition established key differentiation from your competitors, secured the funds and the required skill sets, there is a unique set of behavioral and personality traits that will come to the fore…
- Interpersonal and verbal communication skills
- A keen intuitive mindset
- Good listening skills
- Abstract reasoning
- Peripheral vision
- Sustainable mindset
- Kaizen attitude
- Multi-tasking capability
- Independence, endurance and orientation to detail
The men normally boast of the big picture, but it is the women who endure and deliver superb and detailed work!”john lincoln, author
The art of entrepreneurship: must-have behavioral and personality traits
Interpersonal and verbal communication skills
Business is all about people to people (P2P) connections, rather than B2C or B2B as it is commonly expressed. Most business is done among people who have built relationships over a period of time. Good communications and interpersonal relationships among all stakeholders including customers, employees, partners and shareholders and suppliers are essential to the success of any business.
A keen intuitive mindset
In business, decisions about suppliers, partners and employees often have to be made on the fl y. Small businesses do not have the luxury of time that large corporations have. A right or wrong decision could determine whether a business will survive or not. Having a keen intuitive sense is therefore essential for entrepreneurs.
Good listening skills
This is different and separate from the required communications and interpersonal relationship traits already described. Good listening skills are always good to have, but for entrepreneurs, this is a must. Often what is said and intended are not the same. Missing cues could mean false expectations and wasted time. This is not a luxury that entrepreneurs have. Knowing the differences between what is said and what is
meant, and deciphering and acting on what was said, what was intended to be said and what you actually heard, is really a critical success factor for most entrepreneurs. Understanding the nuances of interpersonal communication is especially important in the current age of globalization and transmigration of cultures from different parts of the world.
Abstract or inductive reasoning is the ability to analyze information and solve problems in a complex, thought-based level. Entrepreneurs have to form hypotheses around their business ideas and processes and be able to solve problems at a complex level. Business is not a linear logical application but often requires complex and multi-faceted problem-solving capabilities. Entrepreneurship requires the ability to detect patterns, trends, and understand the relationships between verbal and non-verbal ideas.
Small businesses and entrepreneurs do not have the budget for an army of research consultants to identify changes in customer needs, opportunities and threats. Often these market changes, opportunities and threats begin as weak signals from the periphery. Most companies large or small have not developed this capability insufficient capacity. Successful entrepreneurs have an almost innate ability to see at the periphery where signals are weak at best.
Good entrepreneurship requires prudent and calculated risk-taking. It is not about taking huge risks with other people’s money. It is not just about building or creating something for the short term. It requires a long-term view, taking into account all stakeholder considerations. It includes knowledge and best practises sharing so that employees and other shareholders are well equipped to sustain their enthusiasm over the long haul.
The Japanese concept of ‘kaizen’ or continuous improvement is a must for successful entrepreneurship. It means not resting on your laurels or focusing on a single goal achievement. Good entrepreneurship requires people to be receptive to other’s ideas. Good entrepreneurship also requires a balanced dosage of tempered self-appraisal and self-critical abilities.
During the early stage of a business, entrepreneurs are often required to address multiple facets and aspects of their business. Due to the innate nature of small businesses and limited resource availability, good entrepreneurship requires this very important but often ignored capability.
Endurance and detail orientation
Due to the limited resource capacity of small businesses, good entrepreneurship requires that the entrepreneur be healthy and be able to do monotonous tasks often enduring long and lonely periods. Most entrepreneurs are independent and able to be detail-oriented and operational. Entrepreneurs can’t survive with just the ‘big picture’ thinking capability alone.
Experts have discovered some real differences in the way that men and women’s brains are structured and in the way we react to events and stimuli. So who makes the better entrepreneur, men or women?
It is an established fact that women communicate more effectively than men. Young girls say their first words, learn to speak, read and are better in coping with language than boys. As adults, women are more fluent and have better command of languages. When a woman communicates with another human being, they look right into the other person’s eyes and generally hold that eye contact longer than men. A woman’s
relationships are deeper and more sustainable than a man’s. Her sensitivities to the externalities are more and deeper than a man’s. (If you need further proof, look at the sexes of children in language remedial classes, or the ones that stutter.) Men have a pronounced need to fulfill their goals and women rank relationships with others first.
Women have a superior and keener experience of all the senses and better intuition. This relative observation of the heightened sensory perception of women is mainly due to the bluntness of the male senses. It is also known that women have a keener sense of nuances, intonation and meaning, and more easily pick up social cues and intensity of conversations and expressions.
Speaking to a few men and women entrepreneurs and professionals to get their views on this subject, it was interesting to note that most men felt that men were better in business. Most women did not want to generalize or stereotype anyone! The best insight was provided by Georgie Hearson and Claire Fenner, co-founders of Heels and Deals, a Dubai-based network and consulting firm for women entrepreneurs.
‘In our opinion women and men are equally good in business but they possess different strengths and weaknesses. For example, women are excellent at multi-tasking, enabling them to manage multiple business functions simultaneously, which in turn is a benefit to working mothers who not only run their own businesses but their homes”, said Georgie Hearson.
Claire Fenner added “As we all know, women are excellent communicators whether it be through the spoken word or written word. If you get 200 women in a room speed networking the energy is phenomenal! The women know how to use this skill to their advantage!
“When it comes to supporting each other men are maybe more guarded and less likely to seek help from their colleagues or peers for fear of being seen as weak, whereas women are willing to look for help when required as well as support each other. “In our opinion, successful companies are those that work with the best in their field as we do at Heels & Deals.”
Men are often utterly frustrated and exasperated at a woman’s reaction to what they say. Women tend to be better judges of character. As we age, women have a better memory for names and faces and a greater sensitivity to other people’s preferences.
All this makes women more intuitive than men, but who is a better listener? Scientists have confirmed that sounds are more acute to a woman than a man. (During my early years of marriage to Carol, I often wondered why she kept insisting that I was yelling and that I needed to ‘tone’ down. I am enlightened now!) The combination of their deeper multi-sensory awareness and hearing skills makes women better listeners.
And who has better abstract reasoning? We have all heard that a man’s brain is programmed for hunting. Men are laser-focused and go for the kill (rhetorically speaking). Women’s brains can decipher a wider range of information. Women are equipped to receive a wider range of sensory information, to connect, correlate,
compute, relate and act on that information with greater facility and agility. When entering a parking garage, men generally look and head to the direction of where their car is parked. Women on the other hand look around, notice faces (and strangers) and calculate possible threats perceived or otherwise. Men can definitely better grasp a situation as a whole and think globally. However, women think locally, relying on
details and the nuances that matter. Women have a better capability of rewinding relevant information over and over.
Could this all be about women having a better peripheral vision? Men have a firmer sense of direction. They need to track, trace and navigate the path to their goal. In other words, men see in a narrow field – mild tunnel vision – with greater concentration on depth. They have a better sense of perspective than women. Women, however, take in better the bigger picture – literally speaking. Not only do women have literally
a wider peripheral vision but women can also more easily store, for short periods at least, more irrelevant and random information than men. Men can excel only when the information is organized in some coherent form or has specific relevance to them. The combination of acute sensory awareness, a literal view of the world through the receptor cone and rod cells in their retina, and their overall intuitiveness gives women an advantage in sensing signals that are almost always too weak for men to detect.
Women are by nature, nurturing, caring and giving. Men are builders whilst women pass on the most valuable information for the positive evolution of the next generation. This innate ability to unselfishly nurture and give gives them an advantage in ensuring that all under their care get the needed information to sustain in the long run. In business, this gives women an advantage as the combination of their superior
communications and personal relationship skills and this need to care and share will ensure that all shareholders are considered and the business focus is on the longterm sustainability of the enterprise.
Men are normally satisfied with their own performance. Women, on the other hand, are self-critical and often have a low self-appraisal of their work. Men are more independent in their thoughts and actions, whilst women seek out and are open to suggestions, comments, and opinions of others. It is important to be self-critical and not satisfied with the status quo to strive for continuous improvement or kaizen.
We have all heard that women are superior at multi-tasking. Scientific studies have proven this. It should not be too surprising. Look at how working mothers do it. How they juggle a career, work, study, child care, cooking and home care all at the same time. Men should salute the women who do this, day in and day out.
As for independence, endurance and detail orientation, we know that women have longer life spans and are less prone to getting sick. Therefore in the macro sense, they are more enduring. Women also perform well when required to do monotonous and arduous tasks. Look around your company and the different projects being tasked and completed. Who amongst them works independently and looks into every detail. The men normally boast of the big picture, but it is the women who endure and deliver superb and detailed work!
JohnLincoln.one –The business growth hacker