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STRONGER THAN STEEL: WOMAN LEADER IN A MALE TEAM

STRONGER THAN STEEL: WOMAN LEADER IN A MALE TEAM

Women, who took senior positions in Russian tech or industry, have to act much more efficiently comparing to men. Otherwise, a woman leader will have no chance to put a team together and moreover, drive it to success. Agnes Ritter, AO Severstal CTO, spoke on that issue throughout Women’s Leadership Forum, which was recently held in Moscow. 

Agnes Ritter is the only woman working in the management of AO Severstal Management. Under her functional authority are directors of operations and CTOs of all the company’s enterprises. The question here is: should a woman leader choose some special communication style to deal with her male colleagues? 

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According to Ms. Ritter, team communication is not begot by special type of interaction. In fact, it bases on the style, which is common for most people. 

Agnes said: “Facts and reasoning make 90% of such style, while remaining 10% go to femininity. I think being a woman is an advantage in such context. When reasoning fails, try turning on your ‘woman mode’ or even ‘a-blonde-is-always-right mode’”. However, Agnes is surely incepting an idea in the minds of her male colleagues: woman plays an important role in enterprise’s success. 

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Agnes provided another observation from her working practice. According to it, working in a male team, a woman leader communicates, “as she was educated, with other people adapting to it”. That joke contains some serious thoughts: with great power comes great responsibility; who and in what way will conform to your communicative peculiarities. 

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Ms. Ritter supposed the ability of working in a team affects any sphere of activity. Your project will be successful, as long as you are a team player or a good leader. The team, according to our interlocutress, gathers around an idea. Where there is no idea, there is no team. It can be created formally, though. However, without a clear goal, no team will last long. 

Another component of cooperation is trust. When men and women are united with an idea and trust each other, they make a great team. Regardless of gender, a team member should define its goal right and move towards it. 

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How can one keep the team from dissolving? Agnes Ritter provided the so-called concept of inverted pyramid. It used to be so, that a boss is the top, while their team is somewhere lower and acts for him. Today, according to Severstal CTO, the pyramid needs to be turned upside down. The team goes first and then goes the boss. Success correlates mainly with the team’s work. Thus, it acts as a client, who requires service. Teamwork should attract people so, that they could develop and ask questions while feeling like a part of the company. Corporate culture starts with the head. It and enterprise’s efficiency in general cannot be built without leaders acting as role models and taking care of their team members. It means that the real leader is not the one, who defines the course of action, but the one, who knows what to do for the team to act properly. 

Tina Stankevich, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community

Translated by Nikolay Boykov


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