Brompton associates is running a series of insight articles into current senior women leaders of industry

Brompton Associates is running a series of insight articles into current senior women leaders of industry. We have interviewed several women leaders to understand what women leadership can contribute to the business world. We introduce our first Women Leader in our series – Esi Kpeglo, HR Business Partner, National Archives:

We asked Esi, ‘What Challenges have you had being a women leader?’

Esi said, ‘Having a voice and being believed and heard is the key. Plus being black has meant that people have a view and everything is framed around that view. I feel in some ways, that I haven’t been allowed to do things because of people’s cultural perceptions of me.

There are more women in HR than men but there are more male HR Directors than women and statistics show that men get to HR Director positions quicker in their careers than women. Maybe men take more risks in their careers and go for roles that are ?20k-?30K increases, whereas I may have taken smaller steps up the leadership ladder.

Other challenges I have faced as a woman leader are based on my own belief system and whether or not I believe I can do it. I think this is my conditioning. Both my parents believed women could do what they wanted. My paternal grandmother in Ghana went to school in the late 1800s and her mother did too. This was extremely unusual. So I come from a family that values education and has given me a chance.’

We also wanted to know what Esi believed women leaders bring to an organisation. Esi responded by saying ‘a balance’, she said ‘I can be incredibly tough if need be but it’s also known that I can be extremely fair too as I think that is very important. I’m not going to go in guns blazing because that’s not my style.

I’m not duplicitous. Maybe the men will play overtly political games more, whether it’s me or if it’s because I’m a woman I don’t know, but I like to be honest in all I do and do not “double speak”.

Esi wondered if women multitasked better, or deliver more? She then stated that many women leaders have a different way of looking at a problem and maybe their way is more holistic rather than one- dimensional. She observed, ‘women generally know that people are far more complex and multi-dimensional too. I’m generalising here, but women tend to be less selfish. Of course there are women I know who will happily stab people in the back but I think men behave this way more often. However, when a woman does behave this way it can be more dangerous and extreme in my opinion.’

Thanks Esi for a quick insight into women leadership and what you think women leaders bring to leadership roles in business.

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