No Women in Your Team? Your Projects Could be Suffering
If you're undervaluing the role women play in your team, your projects could be suffering. Yet only 28% of project professionals are women. As a female-led team, we choose to challenge this.
Increasing the number of women in project management roles is not just a good move for equality, but for your business too.
Of course, every team member has their individual skills and expertise, regardless of gender. However, studies have revealed particular areas in which women thrive.
In celebration of International Women's Day this week, we took a look at the benefits you could be missing out on.
Soft Skills with Big Benefits
Soft skills are being increasingly recognised in project management as a vital skill set. Networking, critical thinking, self-motivation, collaboration and communication are all part of soft skills - and essential for successful projects!
A 2016 study found that women excel in soft skills compared to men. One of the developers of the study, Richard E. Boyatzis, stated that ‘[i]f more men acted like women in employing their emotional and social competencies, they would be substantially and distinctly more effective in their work.’ Clearly, this skill set is not just an added plus, but a driver of productivity and profit.
It doesn't stop there. Not only do soft skills improve your individual work, but they also make for an effective leader. With this in mind, it makes little sense that only 1% of women have Project Director or Board Member roles.
Expanding the number of women in senior positions, and project management more widely, will maximise your chances at project success.
Better Communication = Better Collaboration
Skills in communication and emotional intelligence enhance your team work. With 90% of time spent on a project involving communication from the project manager, if your communication is failing, so will your project.
As strong communicators, women more regularly ensure that goals and expectations are conveyed clearly and confidently. But it's not a one-way system. Strong communicators also encourage feedback and questions. Have you ever experienced project failure just because you didn't have all the information? We've all been there. A small bit of information can have devastating consequences to your project if you're not aware of it. Investing in more women in your team could help get everything on the table so you can deal with it before it becomes a problem.
Additionally, improved communication promotes greater collaboration. One group of researchers in the USA found that women are better at making deals in the Senate than men with greater collaboration between parties. Whether your project involves multiple teams on multiple levels, or just a small number of team members, everyone has different ideas and ways of working. Effective collaboration is essential to stop your project getting derailed by conflict.
For more tips on improving your communication, check out our recent post.
Solving Your Problems
Diversity in your team generates diversity in their thought. By not only including women in your team, but in positions of power and authority, you can boost your problem solving. Greater creativity and diverse thought result in better ideas and better decisions. Different experiences provoke different ideas and the more considered, the better the solution. Simply creating variation in your team can make your projects thrive for the benefit of you and your client.
Women are also often more sensitive to potential underlying problems. Rather than just considering the problems faced at a surface level, women are more likely to evaluate the situation holistically and identify the hidden hurdles your company is up against. N
Not only do you have a better chance of solving the problems you know about, you're less likely to be blindsided by the ones you don't.
We Trust Women
Studies show that women are widely perceived as being more trustworthy than men. Whereas 34% of American workers believe women are more honest and ethical than men, only 3% believe men supersede women in this field.
Without trust in your team, collaboration and morale will struggle, leaving your projects to stall. Of course, cultivating trust takes time and effort as a project manager. Establishing psychological safety is one great way to encourage honesty and confidence - but hiring more women isn't a bad place to start!
As the world of project management is changing, different skills are emerging as the most vital. We all have our strengths, regardless of gender, but recognising the advantages and differences women could bring to your team is an opportunity not to be missed.
Projects that Deliver champions the benefits of a female-led team. If you think we could bring the missing element to your projects, get in touch for a chat.