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WILL-KPMG Survey - "Differentiating Styles of Women Executives in Corporate India"

The increasing commitment of women executives to become a part of the changing business format, and the differentiating styles of leadership that women are bringing to their roles across organizations -- is forever changing the way companies are responding to future markets, ethical leadership, and defining talent for the fast-growing economies.

At the same time, there continues to be some resistance among companies and CEOs in recognizing this strong, active, nurturing, and collaborative style that women are bringing to company boards and top-management -- and the WILL-KPMG Survey Report places on record the reality of what the women leadership styles are conveying to building business, intellectual, and social capital for companies.

Survey Highlights from Corporate India:

  • We are clearly seeing the emergence of a new pattern of leadership – a pattern, which women executives are at the forefront of creating, not only in India, but also globally.

  • It is increasingly being recognized that women do bring substantive diversity to company boards in terms of their composition, skill sets and experiences. Their intuitiveness, negotiation skills and the collaborative and inclusive styles of leadership that they inherently display would be seen as striking a fine balance with the more process-driven leadership culture, which is the hallmark of their male business peers and counterparts.

  • Women leaders are self-critical of their own strengths and weaknesses and tend to rebound gracefully from setbacks. They tend to be natural crisis managers enabling fair and sound judgment. Further, they drive a democratic and inclusive approach by building an ecosystem and nurturing talent.

  • Corporate India however seems to be still working on the traditional definition of hierarchical, conventional form of leadership – while Indian women professionals are definately on the rise and are paving the way for future generations.

  • Aspiring women corporate leaders have equal access to work opportunities and resources to escalate to higher levels and positions on the professional ladder. However, the main challenge lies in enhancing gender inclusion at the “threshold of organizational leadership” and CEO and board positions.

  • Women corporate directors in India account for a mere 4.8 percent of the total population of directors and 2.5 percent of the total segment of independent directors.. The real test for business and corporate leadership in India will materialize when boardrooms are mature enough to realistically reflect the pool of diverse stakeholders who constitute a successful business environment.

  • The common thread that runs through most successful women corporate leaders in India is defined by their ability to take initiative and make more rational decisions, their capacity to multi-task, and the greater sensitivity they display to a wider range of people, situations and catch-22 occurrences. These characteristics make them efficient business leaders who are capable of not only bringing in more robust risk management regimes and more effective governance structures but also incorporating an ethical dimension to their leadership.

Results from global surveys conducted in the past support the notion that women bring distinct personality and motivational strengths to leadership roles - and do so in a style that is conducive to today's diverse workplace.

"The fundamental point is that you need to take the best people from the whole population (rather than one half of the population) if you want to be one of the best companies globally. When it is put as starkly as that, it is impossible to disagree."

- John Griffith-Jones, Partner, KPMG in the UK

We hope that the WILL-KPMG Survey Report will take us one more step forward -- in aligning corporate India with its future markets, future leadership, and future stakeholders.

Copies of the WILL-KPMG Report maybe requested from willforum@pamasiaglobal.com


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