– by Nkosingiphile Ntshangase
Leadership qualities include strong communication skills and the ability to influence others. These qualities are essential for women in leadership positions, especially in male-dominated industries. It is not uncommon to find that, in most instances, female and male leaders communicate differently. On the 22nd of November 2022, UKZN Extended Learning hosted its Impactful Leadership for Women Programme, a leadership programme for women executives and senior managers with a strong focus on establishing influence and authority and translating this into value for their organisation. As a woman in leadership, having the knowledge of what your team needs from a leadership perspective can assist with adapting the appropriate leadership style for effective communication.
In our evolving society, women often have to balance domestic responsibilities with work responsibilities, which can hinder their access to opportunities in the work environment. Leaders have the onus to change the narrative by creating a level playing field for all members to thrive. This can manifest, for example, in policies being adapted to create a work-life balance for all genders. This is why capacitating women in leadership positions to advocate for women in issues on their place in the workforce is necessary. By cultivating an environment that practices flexible thinking, organisations can become more inclusive places for people of different genders, ages, religions, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. Therefore, creating a culture of acceptance strongly impacts individuals and unites everyone within an organisation. Women in leadership should encourage team members to share information by highlighting the importance of each member’s contribution and showing how all tasks work together to bring the whole team closer to the goal.
During the session, delegates were encouraged to exercise their problem-solving skills. The desired outcome of this programme is for delegates to harness their respective team’s strengths in coming up with creative solutions to business challenges. One of the delegates present, Ms Mapula Rampai (Manager, South African Postbank), highlighted,
“In the work environment, we have something called ‘late adopters’, these individuals might be the ones that don’t initially agree with your communication but provides a different perspective on the matter at hand. Their criticism and perspective might even highlight shortcomings, which might help with positive reform within the organisation.”
Facilitating communication means getting the message across to one’s team. This can be achieved by leadership setting an example of being open to suggestions and concerns, asking questions and offering help, and doing everything possible to avoid communication disruptions.
Having more women in management positions has tremendous benefits for organisations but communicating in a way that fits the environment is critical to their success. This is more complicated in the hybrid world, created by the pandemic, where so much discussion and planning occurs through non-traditional means. An impactful leader who masters these skills has a great opportunity to make a more effective impact while accelerating her career.
UKZN Extended Learning can cater to niche needs as we provide in-house customised programmes such as Impactful Leadership for Women for clients. Our uniquely designed programmes can apply across sectors and industries.
If you would like to find out more information about our Impactful Leadership for Women Programme, please click here.
You can also contact us directly for more information about this programme:
T: +27 31 260 1234