Although women and people in minority groups have taken on more leadership roles, women have yet to show a strong presence with only 22% in top executive positions.
On our latest podcast episode we spoke to Mimi Turner, founder of brand strategy business Mimi Turner Associates. Turner began her career as a journalist on the Sunday Times and The Hollywood Reporter for over a decade before becoming Group Director of Communications and Public Affairs at Northern & Shell, a media business which owned Channel 5, OK Magazine and Express Newspapers. She became sales and marketing director of The Health Lottery before becoming the first CMO of the Lad Bible, which she helped transform from a cult youth platform to a mainstream media brand. She was head of UK strategy at VICE before setting up her own brand strategy business which advises media businesses on product and positioning.
Her clients have included digital sports platform GIVEMESPORT, AI video recommendation platform Suggestv and Wireless Group, home to talkSPORT, talkRADIO and Virgin Radio, where she is currently consulting CMO.
Here are five things we can learn from her experience with women and leadership.
- “One thing I think is really important when it comes to leadership is that you have got to like people”. Leadership is about understanding the people within an organization. You have to be prepared to listen and understand them so that they feel part of the journey. Culture is one of the most important aspects of a business in order for change to happen.
- Play to your strengths and don’t be afraid to be fearless. “Someone once told me that I was forever going into jobs that I didn’t have any experience of, but my career trajectory has been to move very comfortably from something I didn’t know about to something else I didn’t know about while thinking, actually I’ll learn that on the job”. If you can identify what’s unique from your past experience use those skills to advance. If you don’t have all the skills you need, learn on the job from your environment and the people around you.
- “Male and female leaders are not fundamentally different. Both demonstrate an archetypical ‘leader personality’ focused on being people orientated, strategic and decisive”. The idea that female leaders are fundamentally different from male leaders is widespread and is an attitude that needs to desperately change in order to encourage equality amongst senior management teams.
- The challenge in the workplace is not how do we allow more women in and how can they adapt to men. “Women are already in, even when you told them they weren’t allowed in they found a way to get in. Every woman in the workplace knows how to speak the language of men and they will use this to tell stories better and be more successful than men”. Businesses need to recognise that instead of focusing on changing women to excel in male dominated environments, men must understand a new language to work cooperatively and effectively with women.
- Women are taking new approaches to leadership, “The more women leading organisations, the more women there will be in organisations because when we work together we understand each other a little more quickly, we look to cooperate and with a bit of added value because we brought more to the process”. Women in leadership have the opportunity to be role models for other women. Leading the way in their own careers by choosing to support them and work collaboratively.
To listen to the full interview, subscribe to our podcast SuperHuman Action Heroes by clicking on the link below.