Change Leadership for Equality

– by Liana Dobson

This year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme is #BalanceforBetter. The theme focusses on building a gender-balanced world and according to the IWD website, “from grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. We notice its absence and celebrate its presence.”

#BalanceforBetter can be progressed in a number of ways, but many organisations will be thinking about how they can improve gender equality in the workplace. Putting aside the debate on whether or not quotas are the answer, strong leadership and effective change management is essential to success.

Whether you subscribe to ADKAR, Kotter, Lewin or behavioural economics theories, we can’t underestimate the importance of change leadership. Effective change leadership is about much more than an ‘executive sponsor’ title. It’s about driving change through demonstrated behaviours.

Some of the most effective change leaders that I have seen are those able to connect with their staff and stakeholders through a clear vision, consistent communication, share personal experience, and create desire or a sense of urgency for change.

Being able to witness a leader go through their own change journey and commit to doing things differently is very powerful. This is especially true in implementing cultural changes as building a more gender-balanced workforce often is. Leaders who purposefully alter their language, look at their own assumptions, recognise the wins and are honest about making mistakes and then move forward will bring others with them. True leadership is about owning the change, not delegating it.
While celebrating International Women’s Day this year we should take the opportunity to think about how we are demonstrating change leadership and working towards #BalanceforBetter.

Celebrate International Women’s Day 2019 by using the hashtags #IWD2019 and #BalanceforBetter