Sharing Isn’t Just Caring- It’s A Girl Thing

Wednesday, July 31 2013

It turns out that women –specifically daughters and sisters, make men kinder, more generous and more collaborative leaders. Surprised?

share-ideaAdam Grant

, Wharton's star professor, and indeed one of the most sought-after organizational gurus today, has revolutionized the business world with a very simple philosophy which can be summarized as follows:

Giving, or generosity (sharing your knowledge and resources) leads to success (increased collaboration, innovation, quality and profits).

Grant's idea is that companies and managers that engender a giving environment result in employees who are more productive, more innovative, and more motivated. He believes that helping others makes us feel more implicated in our work and thereby more motivated. Grant's work is contributing to promote the cause of being "selfless" as an essential characteristic for today's leaders.

And guess what? It's a girl thing.
Giving, or generosity (sharing your knowledge and resources) leads to success (increased collaboration, innovation, quality and profits).
In his article "
Why Men Need Women" for the New York Times, Grant pulls together several findings that reveal the positive influence women have on men's levels of generosity. According to these studies, a man who has had sisters or who has daughters, especially a first born daughter is more nurturing and empathetic, qualities associated with women. This particular female presence in a man's life makes him a more generous boss (e.g., higher salaries) and a bigger philanthropist (à la Bill Gates).

One of the studies cited, Fatherhood and Managerial Style: How a Male CEOs Children Affect the wages of his Employees, by researchers Michael Dahl, Cristian Dezso and David Gaddis Ross, tracked the salaries paid by male CEOs at 10,000 Danish companies over 10 years. When the CEOs had sons, the salaries decreased; with daughters the impact was reverse.

Another study by Dezso and Ross analyzing data from 1992 to 2006, shows that companies with women in their top management levels generated 1% more value. In fact, the positive impact of female management on innovation and overall performance has been studied extensively. In a World Bank Report, innovation increases by 18% when women form part of a company's board. Companies with women on boards consistently outperform those without.

Grant uses these studies highlighting the more collaborative and generous behavior of men influenced by women, elements that he argues are key to real long-term benefits for organizations. These new studies explore the indirect influence of women on men as daughters and sisters, and Grant takes it a step further joining it to existing research that demonstrates the direct positive impact of women on their male peers, especially when it comes to giving.

In today's business paradigm shift, companies are racing to learn how to put people at the center of their organization (as both employees and clients). What these studies show is that women naturally know how to take others into account and so gender diversity will naturally facilitate this culture change. was born from this very basic, very feminine principle of sharing. The idea that through community building, mentorship and knowledge sharing we can help each other reach both our individual goals as well as our organizational objectives.

Our inboxes are full with tips about the next best way to increase profits, customer traffic and innovate in our products and services. How about taking a step back and remembering our core values: sharing, supporting, caring, consensus building –are the very qualities that make our contributions to the boardroom so beneficial, and not just because they foster a more collaborative environment, but because they also affect the bottom line.

Statistical data sources: Catalyst, Credit Suisse Report

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