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Workplace Culture

Why Women Leaders are Thriving in the Post-Pandemic Landscape


The Power of Harnessing Empathy, Adaptability, and Collaborative Leadership

The year 2023 may very well go down in history as the year women took a pink stiletto to add another crack in the glass ceiling, thanks to the blockbuster success of Barbie and the creative genius of Greta Gerwig. And while women in the real world still have a long way to go towards the same opportunities as the Barbies of Barbieland, we’re actually getting closer than you might think.

Despite the combined challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tumultuous economy, ongoing global unrest, etc., women-owned businesses have managed to not just survive but thrive.  The 2024 Impact of Women in Business Report states that women-owned businesses represented 39.1% of all businesses in the US with a growth rate nearly double that of those owned by men. In the US, women-owned businesses have grown 114% over the past two decades and one in three businesses worldwide have women among their principal owners.

In the face of so much adversity, how have women been able to come out on top?

Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

Women often possess strong emotional intelligence and empathy, which enables them to understand and connect with employees, customers, and stakeholders on a deeper level. This ability to empathize extends worldwide, transcending culture, language, and class as confirmed by a study in 2022 by the University of Cambridge that surveyed over 300,000 participants in 57 countries.

And it’s not just empathy where women excel. According to a 2008 Pew Research study, women ranked equal to or better than men in 7 out of 8 perceived leadership traits including honesty, intelligence, work ethic, ambition, compassion, sociability, and creativity.

Leadership, at its core, is about the aptitude of people to motivate and collaborate with other people. This ability to empathize fosters better communication, collaboration, and team dynamics within organizations.

Adaptability & Resilience

It’s no secret that women have historically faced obstacles and challenges in a solidly male-dominated world. As a result, they tend to develop a high level of adaptability and resilience, allowing them to navigate uncertainty, setbacks, and change more effectively as business leaders.

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has essentially solidified this. Multiple studies have showed that countries led by women weathered the crisis significantly better than their male counterparts, due in part to the fact that women are much more risk-averse than men. Shout outs to Jacinta Ardern and Angela Merkel whose swift responses saved thousands of lives in New Zealand and Germany, respectively.

Collaborative & Transformational Leadership

A transformational leader is defined as “a leader works with their team to guide change through influence and inspiration.”

What does that mean in real world situations?

Women often employ a collaborative and inclusive leadership style, valuing input from diverse perspectives and fostering a culture of teamwork and cooperation. This approach can lead to more innovative solutions, better decision-making, and higher employee morale and engagement.

A 2010 study of 699 people separated into groups of two to five people showed that the number of women in an individual group correlated strongly to the group’s collective intelligence, defined as the ability to work together to resolve a wide range of problems. Researchers observed that groups with more women “exhibited greater equality in conversational turn-taking, further enabling the group members to be responsive to one another and to make the best use of the knowledge and skills of members.”


The power of empathy, adaptability, and collaborative leadership in the hands of women is undeniable, as multiple studies cited above have shown. A naturally strong emotional intelligence allows them to forge meaningful connections and understand the needs of employees, customers, and stakeholders alongside a resilience and adaptability equip them to navigate uncertainties and lead effectively in times of crisis. Furthermore, women’s collaborative and transformational leadership styles foster innovation, inclusivity, and high team morale, driving better decision-making and problem-solving within organizations.