With 24% female software developers across its Lagos and Nairobi offices, Andela’s female developer ratio is far above the global average of 5.8% and we work hard to create an environment where women are supported and encouraged. We believe that talent is gender neutral and that women should be standing right next to men as we lead the next technology revolution. This partnership with BellaNaija reflects our commitment to that vision.
Over the coming months, we will share blog posts and media, produced by the women of Andela. We would love for you all to join in as you share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.
“Leadership is the ability to help people achieve things they don’t think are possible. Leaders are coaches with a passion for developing people, not players; they get satisfaction from achieving objectives through others. Leaders inspire people through a shared vision and create an environment where people feel valued and fulfilled.” — Randy Stocklin, co-founder and CEO, Readers.com
I believe women make the BEST LEADERS. Yes, that’s a bold statement. Let me explain why I feel this way.
Women are good at multi-tasking
We are able to juggle and manage multiple tasks simultaneously. This might sound like a myth but several studies have validated this. One of them is a study by the BBC http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-24645100. The study found that when men and women were given tasks to tackle one at a time, they performed equally. However, when they were asked to tackle multiple tasks, the men were significantly slower – taking 77% longer to respond, whereas women took 69% longer. Multitasking is an important skill to have as a leader because coupled with daily responsibilities, a leader is expected to deal with any unforeseen issues and interruptions that may crop up. We are good at multitasking, therefore we often make it look easy to juggle multiple tasks at the same time. I first led a team of people on a project during my first few months at Andela. The other team leads (all guys) were struggling with ramping up their technical skills, leading a group of people, and also making sure the team completes the project before deadline; I was able to do all these with ease. My team finished the project a whole month ahead of schedule. One of the other team leads walked up to me and asked, “Tolu, how did you do all this? How were you able to make it look easy?” In reality, it wasn’t easy at all. I had to make a lot of sacrifices and do a lot of planning but to the people looking from the outside, it looked very effortless. When you make tasks look effortless, people tend to have more confidence and trust in you.
We are great listeners
A good leader is able to communicate the vision and goals of a team clearly, but there’s an often overlooked part of communication that makes a good leader great – the ability to listen. Skillful listening enables you catch details that others miss. Many epiphanies and business solutions have been reached thanks to a good listener’s ability to pick up on a hidden gem. At Andela where I work, we’ve discovered that one thing that keeps employees happy is the feeling of being heard and the only way people feel heard is if they are listened to and their concerns acted upon. Women are better listeners because we are typically better at using our intuitive right hemisphere along with the logical faculties in the left, at the same time. This makes it easier for us to tune in to the thoughts and emotions of anybody we are having a conversation with. This study by a team from Cambridge University found that in women, parts of the brain linked to the emotions, calculating risks, and the ability to listen were more prominent, while in men, the areas of the brain tied to motor skills and co-ordination were denser and larger. The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” — Ralph Nichols.
We are empathetic
Women are naturally more in tune with their emotional side and this makes it easy to read and connect with people beyond the surface level. Mark Twain said “One learns peoples through the heart, not the eyes or the intellect.” Understanding people requires that one is able to read and interpret non-verbal expressions as these are the greatest giveaways of a person’s true nature. A leader who is able to motivate and inspire others, recognise the weaknesses and strengths of her team members is more likely to get them to perform at their best. There is great truth in the following axiom: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
‘Earn the trust of your employees long before you need to call on that trusting relationship for a favour.’ — Russell J. White.
“The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them.” – General Colin Powell
For all the ladies out there who are doubting whether they can be great leaders, You already have a natural advantage by being a woman. Just keep developing these skills and LEAN IN!
Feeling inspired by this article? Find out how you can become an Andela woman by watching this video:
This article was written by Tolulope Komolafe, Andela Developer. Follow the hashtag #AndelaBN and #AndelaWCW to keep up with our pieces on social media.
Photo Credit: Dragonimages | Dreamstime.com