Women in leadership

How can women be empowered as leaders?

What makes women natural leaders, and how do they overcome gender bias?

International research shows that women often get criticized and have a disadvantage when they become mothers, while the research shows that fathers get promotions and increases.

I interviewed Margaret Hirsch a strong COE of Hirsch’s in South Africa, finding out how she overcome gender bias in her career.

Watch the replay here:

Did you ever experience gender bias and how did you overcome it?

What is interesting, is the moment Margaret fell pregnant, she was fired. And this forced her into starting her own business. Not always having access to her father made her see men and women as equal and her mindset is what made her achieve and become a strong leader.

Margaret is always learning and said that she married a very supportive husband, that would never look down on women. She says one of the most important decisions you will ever make, is your spouse. She is on the Exco board, with 9 other men, whom she leads. And she is mostly delegating tasks.

Margaret believes in upskilling her staff and mindset is a big thing. One of the activities she gets her staff to do is to stand up and say: “I have all the capabilities within me”. She loves the work of Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn and highly recommends Robin Banks for Mindset work. She also encourages women to relook their vocabulary, and instead of saying:

“Sorry I’m late” saying: “Thank you for your patience”.

What are some of the areas in which women are naturally good at being leaders?

Women have empathy for their staff and customers

Margaret shares the story of an office manager that has such empathy, that she warms up the entire office. She is also the first to arrive and the last to leave. She illustrates hard work and is willing to even do mundane tasks of cleaning her desk.

Another trait that comes naturally to women is multi-tasking. Women are able to run their households, take care of their kids, while being managers, and studying.

Women notice the big picture and the small details

While men tend to have linear thinking women will see the entire picture, connect the dots and still be able to zone in on the finer details.

Women can easily teach and uplift others

Women like teaching their staff, and including them by making sure that they are all on the same page.

Areas that they may need to be aware of are:

1. Not becoming emotional

We are all wired to be emotional, but when confronting staff or customers, remove the emotions and focus on the facts or the behavior.

2. Be aware of your dress code

We are what we wear, what we eat, what we read. The way in which you are dressed will either put you in a box or allow your customers and your staff to see you in a professional manner. Be careful when choosing what to wear.

3. Cut out the chit chat

Sometimes she says her female staff can get lost in conversation. It’s important to focus on work when you are at the office.

Margaret’s advice to women wanting to improve their Leadership skills are:

Wake up early

  • Margaret is up at 4 am every morning. She does her meditations, her prayers, her yoga, showers, and is at the office before 7 am. She focusses throughout the day on her work and at night and weekends has time for cooking dinner, spending time with her husband, kids, and grandkids. Choose to spend your time wisely, that is the only time you are given. You don’t know when your number will be called.

Get your house in order first- put on your oxygen mask first

First look at building your own finances by purchasing a car and a house before starting to give to charities. Look after your own finances, emotions, spiritual, fitness and all areas of wealth-and then give to others.

Teach others, because then you will grow

The moment you need to teach someone else, you first need to do the research yourself and make sure that you know what you are talking about. And in the process, you learn and grow.

Set goals for yourself and work towards them

Once you know what you want, and you’ve written it down and made it visual-you can work towards it every day. Margaret drew pictures of the game farm and house in Zanzibar she wanted-and made those dreams a reality.

Don’t expect the opportunities to land in your lap, work for it.

If you want to watch the interview you can do so here:

Or watch our interview of last month where we discussed:

  • How Hirsch’s stayed in contact with their staff during the pandemic
  • The War room strategies to pay staff and their creditors
  • How they trained and motivated their staff