“Everyone deals with a situation differently and so I disagree that a woman leader should think like a man! Not all hats fit the same head size,” opines Lina Al Abdulsalaam, marketing and communication expert. She also noted that women “may not all lead the world, but they are already doing it in many different ways”.
“And we are doing it without realising it,” she adds. “We are witnessing a shift, an improvement and there is data to prove it,” she further adds.
Women across the world in companies often get into a ‘gender double bind’ – when they are aggressive in their work, they are ‘insensitive’; when they exercise empathy, they are ‘indecisive’. Does it bother you?
This used to bother me in the past. But after all the hardship, it actually made me tougher and stronger. The ‘gender double bind’ has always been there but that doesn’t mean we give up. It is expected from men but it is shocking when it comes from other women, yet here we are trying to prove ourselves to the same species.
I believe we should not judge people at work on who they are as long as they get the job done and the outcome required. Everyone deals with a situation differently and so I disagree that a woman leader should think like a man! Not all hats fit the same head size.
I have reached a stage where such actions or comments no longer bother me because I tend to understand the people/environment I work with and learn to cope with it. This has a lot to do with individuals themselves and not the system/corporate policies. We, as humans, are very judgmental in nature!
The global pandemic was a sphere in which women leaders showed their mettle. What is this essence of a woman that helps them dismantle the usual narrative and help them veer their companies from disaster to success and beyond?
The pandemic has taught us a lot and if we did not learn anything from it then that is unfortunate. It is amazing how businesses transformed into digitalisation and the way we have changed our lifestyle. There were many debates whether companies should spend money or save money. However, in the company I worked for, the pandemic did not stop us from planning ahead, promoting and innovating. In fact our main focus was to communicate frequently and effectively with different stakeholders, through different channels assuring them that we are there for them and we remain trusted.
Many qualities of women come to the fore in a crisis – how do they (or you) transpose this into the work ecosystem?
Women have natural tendencies to listen and to have empathy; to involve others and build relationships; to connect with others and to build networks. Most women want to work in a place where they can have their voices heard and impact the society overall.
While you may argue that women are at present ruling the world, when will the time come when they will, without a doubt, rule the world?
Nothing is constant or stagnant, things change, people change and the environment does change. We are witnessing a shift, an improvement and there is data to prove it. We may not all lead the world but we are already doing it in many different ways without us realising it.
What are the fundamental characteristics that help a woman shine in the corporate world?
The list is long, but to name a few: clarity, compassion, strong communication, empathy and solidarity. It is important to recognise that the corporate world is not about ME, it is always about WE and when a women wins the trust of her team, she will always shine.
I believe in the power of teamwork and making people feel important no matter what their task is, everyone should feel valued and if they need help to improve/develop, it is our duty to fill in the gap and help them shine. Feedback and self-evaluation are the keys – this can only happen if you are willing to listen, accept and improve.
Lina Al Abdulsalaam has always been passionate about what she does for a living. She is a US graduate in marketing management with 18 years of working experience within the marketing and communication field. She is certified in leadership management and awarded by The City and Guilds of London Institute. Also, a certified product manager, financial marketer and product marketing by American Academy of Financial Management (AAFM); awarded by Al Maraa Excellence Award for marketing and sales in 2015. Her most important asset? Let her say that in her own words: “Blessed to have family and friends that believe I matter!”