The pandemic led to many women leaving the workforce, most of them permanently. While the impact of this trend on gender issues is discussed regularly, its large scale impact on overall productivity and the bottomline was not talked about. A new report, however, concludes that losing women leaders leads to loss of job satisfaction and performance among employees as well as loss of revenue for the organisation. 

This finding was highlighted in the Potential Projects Spring 2022 Report released recently. It is the third of the six editions of The Human Leader study undertaken by the consulting firm bi-annually. The results were compiled through a multi-year study of leaders and employees from around 5000 companies globally. The aim of the study is to find out whether leaders can continue to be good human beings even as they maneuver through the tough situations their jobs put them through. 

When asked to score male and female leaders on how they affect job engagement, female employees said female leaders increased their job engagement by 5.5% while for male employees, this increase was 4.8%. Male leaders, meanwhile, led to a 2.6% job engagement for female employees. In terms of their performance, female employees said they were likely to perform 6% better under a female leader while male employees said their performance increased by 5.5% 

The report also noted that women leaders were saving organisations at least $1.4 million per 1,000 employees annually by avoiding costs due to lost productivity and employee replacement. This is because they are seen as both wise and compassionate by their team members. Among the female leaders, 55% were considered to have both these qualities by their team members as opposed to 27% of male leaders. This meant that most of the women leaders could do hard things in a human way, stressed the report. Notably women leaders were ranked better than their male counterparts in terms of soft skills like courage, candour and transparency.

“Although women may have a more ingrained, natural predisposition towards compassionate leadership, we also know that compassion can be learned. Anyone and everyone who is interested in becoming a wiser and more compassionate leader can unlearn old ways of leading and relearn how to be more human,” said the authors of the report in an article published on Harvard Business Review. They also stressed the need to improve gender equity in workplaces, especially within the C-suite, and to create opportunities for peer learning for both men and women.