By Sinazo Mkoko
“A business is only successful in its evolution if it is able to take its employees with it and lead through that transition.”
So said the CEO of Naspers Labs South Africa, Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, who delivered a keynote address at this year’s Standard Bank Top Women Awards.
These annual awards honour outstanding leadership, inspiration, vision and innovation in organisations that play a role in advancing women to the forefront of the economy.
Phuthi said despite the inherent potential and power of women, a recent KPMG study found that 75% of female executives across industries have experienced imposter syndrome in their careers. She said it would be hard-pushed to find any woman who has not experienced feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt at some point in their working life.
She said there’s a range of reasons for this but the key amongst them is limited opportunities for inclusiveness for women in corporate environments. She said women continue to earn and lead less with fewer opportunities in business.
“Leaders today have the opportunity to ensure that women are on an accelerated path. You are where you are because someone believed in you. You have the skills to do the job, and so let’s create opportunities for more women.” she said.
Ms. Mahanyele-Dabengwa added that there’s a crucial need for leaders to lift others through their journey, of ensuring that when they get through the door, they have a seat at the table and make it a point to leave the open door for others and invite with few opportunities and worthy but often overlooked because of their gender and race.
“It is imperative to embrace the concept of building empowered teams, creating a shared sense of confidence that all employees are solving important, impactful, and valuable problems – this doesn’t only create forward momentum, but it helps to counter the threat of imposter syndrome,” she said.
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