Alessandra Malvermi, Co-founder and Manager, Sound Public Relations. She is Vice President of Global Women in PR for Italy.
Our Public Relations Global Network partner in Italy hits the nail on the head when it comes to female leadership in today’s world. The most recent research studies on leadership share the image of a future increasingly characterized by skills that have socially and historically belonged to the males. The old “command-economy” mentality by Henry Ford is now outdated and overtaken by the modern working organization, inspired by values such as active listening, empathy, sharing, delegation and inclusion.
Organizations, economies and practically all relational systems are becoming increasingly complex and interconnected and require a new anti-fragile leadership style that does not merely withstand a shock but actually improves because of it, knows how to enhance diversity and draws from what exists in order to create better scenarios.
Here are some of the points that emerged from the masterclasses that I’ve had the pleasure of moderating.
Is female leadership different than male leadership?
Several studies suggest that it is. Nevertheless, when investigating the relationship between gender and leadership styles, it becomes clear that both men and women can learn the behaviors, attributes and skills of the opposite sex. According to Gustav Jung, the psyche is a combination of complementary masculine and feminine principles (Anima and Animus).
What are today’s biggest leadership challenges?
Today’s leaders are increasingly called upon to effectively guide so-called positive systems. Companies are expected to have a systemic role in society and know how to maintain co-evolutionary relationships not only with their peers in their industry sectors, but also with society as a whole. We are witnessing a transformation that is impacting all systems – work, social relationships, family and environment. Leadership, too, is evolving and is turning increasingly inside-out. Leaders must be willing to embark on a journey of discovery that goes beyond knowing how to do, and reaches knowing how to be in order to fully and consciously express their potential and uniqueness.
What is the main trait of a successful modern leader?
The evolution of leadership is increasingly linked to skills that have socially and historically belonged to women. Listening skills, understanding, delegation, empathy and inclusion should not be intended as traits intrinsic to individual identity, but rather as expressions more easily referable to the feminine sphere. The first fundamental characteristic shared by women in leadership positions is self-awareness. Knowing your values, needs and talents thoroughly – and knowing how to align them with your life and career goals – is in fact the essential trait of female leadership and of leadership of the future.
What is the link between female leadership and PR?
Public relations, by definition, aims at building bridges of understanding and dialogue. Empathetic communication is the basis of any effective and generative relationship. Systems are the result of relationships. Between us and reality there is always a relational component. The skills of female leadership are particularly functional in cultivating co-evolutionary relationships and in promoting the creation of a positive and fertile climate for the development of ideas, projects and solutions capable of bringing authentic value to customers and projects. Self-awareness, a key element of female leadership, also allows us to understand how recognizing one’s own values, needs, talents and even vulnerabilities essential to be able to enter into more authentic relationships with others.