I recently went on Silvia Coppulo’s radio programme to talk about women in leadership with psychologist Sara Berbel and headhunter Ignasi Rafel (first and second from the left in the photo). The topic of discussion was “What’s behind every businesswoman who has reached the top of the corporate ladder?” Food for thought.
That said, I believe there’s one thing all women who have made it to the top have in common: a passion for their work. Being passionate about the work you do increases your chances of success, because it drives you to become the very best you can be. Passion transforms obstacles into opportunities. It helps you to adapt and move forward when hard times strike.
Passion, however, can be a double-edged sword, because you can become over-engaged. It requires a constant act of work-life balance. I’m convinced that behind every great businessman and businesswoman there is an intense, rich personal life. It is precisely this personal richness which, I believe, inspires these people to achieve greater things, both in business and in life in general.
In Spain, around 40% of the women in top positions have children. This is very low compared to countries like Norway and Sweden, where the figures are over 75%. Women should never be penalised for having children or have to give up their professional careers in order to balance their private lives. Businesses need women as much as they need men because gender diversity is key to encouraging creative thinking, innovation and productivity – and because talent knows no gender boundaries.
Spain needs to learn from Scandinavia and improve measures to reconcile work and family life – measures that benefit women, but also men. Both the government and businesses should encourage stop-and-start career paths that lead employees to the top while striving for balance. The bottom line is this: companies cannot afford to miss out on top talent.