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Conscious Leadership Conversations WOMEN June21 BEAM V1

Michelle Dyer, Brand Strategist
June research piece - ARTICLE
Singapore, June 2021:
As countries across the globe begin to emerge from the COVID-19
pandemic and with economic growth a key factor in enabling a return
to ‘normal life’, companies and workplaces are under time-pressure
to help define exactly what this looks like. With so many shifting
parameters, how do we foster a workforce that is happy, engaged and
hopeful in order to achieve commercial success, growth and
evolution? This question throws a spotlight on leadership; on our
global leaders as they continue to grapple with vaccines, borders
and trade agreements and on the leaders of commerce and industry.
We’re collectively looking to them to navigate us towards a new way
of working - potentially with flexible home and office arrangements
– and forward into a better future.
As we enter the second half of 2021, BEAM engages in conversations
about ‘Conscious Leadership’, pulling sharply into focus the
opinions and thinking of key stakeholders in the Asia Pacific. Given
the exponential, global impact of the pandemic on everyone, yet
disproportionately on the female population, the first step was to
conduct a survey of 87 professional women in senior leadership and
mid-management roles across Asia Pacific ((80% Asia-based, 20%
Australia & New Zealand).
With the majority spread across Generations X&Y), participants
collectively considered three key components as major hurdles faced
by women today:
1. Work-Life balance
2. The Workplace
3. Self-development
Some of the findings are challenging to dissect in terms of what is
simply ‘the norm’ and how much is coloured by current circumstance,
while much of it remains reflective of topics that have been
discussed for more than a decade. Ultimately, it seems like not much
has changed and women still notably feel the impact of gender
inequality in their careers.
Michelle Dyer, Brand Strategist
+65 9834 8326
Michelle Dyer, Brand Strategist
Within Work-Life balance, 42% identified juggling their careers with
family and social expectations as significant hurdles, with the
impact of more of the parenting load falling their way adding to
this. With home-schooling and kids becoming our surrogate colleagues
as the kitchen table became our work-station, the lines between work
and home sometimes seem close to being erased altogether. How will
companies foster a sense of a better future when an exhausted and
Zoom-fatigued workforce emerges from their pyjama bottoms to reenter the building?
Exploring the Workplace itself highlighted the fact that some
permeating issues retain a strong hold, reported equally across
generations. 71% of women surveyed have experience exclusion,
gender, race and age-based discrimination and stereotyping. Almost
45% cited a lack of opportunities for development and organisational
limitations in advancing their careers.
So what is it we need to do differently moving forward? When will we
stop asking for this to change?
Turning our attention to the area of Self-development, it became
clear that the onus does not solely lay with organisations and
leaders to help us find our way to a more equal reality. 29% of
respondents acknowledged that a lack of ambition, drive and
confidence was a major factor in limiting their success. How much of
this is attributable to the pandemic itself is impossible to
quantify, but the identified link between a lack of women’s networks
and the experience of stagnated development is undeniable. So how
can the leaders of tomorrow realise a different reality?
Asked what it would take to be an impactful leader who can effect
necessary change, respondents overwhelmingly cited Empathy,
Compassion and Authenticity as highly-desirable, followed closely by
the ability to be agile, flexible and adaptable. The more classic
attributes of being driven, determined, motivational and empowering
were also identified as vital which reinforces the thinking that
being a good leader is quite simply, a very complex equation. The
big question is how do we hire leaders who have a strong sense of
empathy and compassion, are also ambitious and will doubtless need
to make tough decisions? Can we teach someone to have all of those
things? Are these innate capabilities or are they able to be
Michelle Dyer, Brand Strategist
+65 9834 8326
Michelle Dyer, Brand Strategist
BEAM’s “Conscious Leadership” conversations are intended to unpack
and uncover the key issues and ingredients needed for strong,
effective leadership not only coming out of the pandemic, but also
for a future where we no longer need to focus on gender equality or
lack thereof. The key attributes needed to move our industries and
economies forward have not only evolved to skills that require
development, serious thought and a great deal of comfort with
What will our careers look like? What do we want? What is possible?
What makes good business sense?
Redefining the parameters of success has never been such an openended and necessary conversation and what is clear is that there is
still much work to do. As women know only too well, perhaps the only
way to tackle this is to keep on talking about it.
OPTIONAL ENDING: Stay tuned for more discussions in our Conscious
Leadership Conversations series throughout 2021.
Michelle Dyer, Brand Strategist
+65 9834 8326