Too often women are told that in order to be successful in the workplace, they need to emulate men. This couldn't be further from the truth. Women bring such an amazing dynamic to not only the hospitality industry - but the workplace in general. They have unique qualities which include exceptional management and interpersonal skills that not only add value, but help to create thriving organisations.
A study conducted by McKinsey & Company found that traditional workplace behaviours such as control, corrective action, and individualistic decision making, are the least critical for future success. Instead, inspiration, participative decision making, setting expectations and people development, which are mostly exhibited by women, are the leadership traits required to address future challenges.
There’s no doubt that emotional intelligence in the workplace will result in happier employees and a more successful business. The soft skills that women tend to offer often encourage others to be more motivated, perform better, and communicate more fluidly.
I believe that women bring four critical skills to the workplace:
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, more teams have been forced to work remotely. Technology is fast replacing traditional face-to-face meetings which means effective communication is now more critical for organisations. Men and women listen differently. According to a hearing aids company, Starkey, the difference in men and women's grey and white matter in the brain, contributes to men’s efficiency with localised tasks while enabling women to excel at integrating and assimilating, a skill thought to aid language skills. This highlights the massive role women play in workplace communication.
We've all heard that us guys cannot multitask but recent research disproved this stereotype. I do however believe that women are more organised, which is valuable when tasks need to be allocated to large teams like those found in a hotel. When companies find themselves short-staffed, women can generally take on many roles at once and complete them successfully due to their ability organise.
This can easily be attributed to science. Men have more testosterone, which makes them more aggressive, and women have more estrogen, which makes them more patient. Patience is a necessary skill to have in the hospitality industry as it enables you to suppress your frustration and puts you in a better position to deal with upset clients.
There is ample research on women’s empathetic nature. Their ability to understand someone else’s feelings makes them better at establishing rapport. This is highly beneficial for the tourism and hospitality industry as you tend to deal with people who have different communication requirements. Empathy allows women to accommodate these differences, leading to fewer misunderstandings with clients and team members.
Now, more than ever, I believe that women need to be celebrated. Women have in some cases, single-handedly carried the burden that Covid-19 and lockdown has brought – and yet, they continue to add value in their workplace. This Women’s Month, First Group would like to salute not only the ladies in the hospitality industry – but all South African women; we love and appreciate you all!