"Are there any women here?"

You may have seen the fabulously funny, if not slightly controversial, film, The Life of Brian, by Monty Python. If you haven’t, I suggest you watch it as soon as you can, as this is the pinnacle of the Pythons’ intelligent yet twisted humour.

Anyway, for those of you that have seen it, you will no doubt recall the stoning scene, where Brian and his mother are attending a public stoning. Brian’s mother is sporting a fake beard to give her the appearance of a man and when Brian asks her why women aren’t allowed to go to the stoning, the reply is that, “It's written. That's why.”

It turns out that those attending the stoning are indeed all women wearing fake beards, but the game is almost given away when of them shouts out but forgetting to put on her “man voice”.

“Are there any women here today?” questions John Cleese.

Let’s rewind 45 years or so from today when my dear mum embarked on her career; she did something phenomenal – her decision to join the WRAF (Women’s Royal Air Force) helped pave the way for thousands of women to not only join the service, but to break into a heavily male-dominated sector. She turned up at RAF Leeming guard room to report for duty to be greeted by, “We don’t have women here.” So she was sent home in London for two weeks whilst they installed female-appropriate facilities.

It’s still a problem today, though thankfully nowhere near as great as it once was. The battle of the sexes and the idea that women just aren’t quite up to the job has always been with us and the opinion (generally from a chauvinistic male population) has always been that men are better than women. This is a preposterously vague and equally ridiculous a statement to make. It’s like pointing out that unicorns are better than sheep. Better at what, exactly? I was looking for three bags full of wool, not a distorted and puerile sense of reality.

Reality. So what is the reality? Well, the argument seems to be that women are better listeners, are more empathetic and engage more quickly and more deeply with their audience. In a recent Gallup study in the US, female managers exceed male managers at meeting employees' essential workplace requirements. And female managers themselves are more engaged at work than are their male counterparts, which would help explain this phenomenon. There is currently an enormous amount of debate about employee engagement on social media, but it is reasonable to say that if an employee demonstrates energy, enthusiasm and absorption at work then they are probably much more engaged and therefore doing a better job than somebody who does not display those traits.

Relationship and trust building is a key part to any business and the way in which men and women build these is very different. Men tend to build relationships by playing football, going to rugby matches, doing activities together, whereas women build relationships by conversing with each other. I bet you will have seen the familiar scenario unfold at business meetings where the men really don’t have a great deal to say to each other and one or two of them are staring into space, twiddling a pen, or checking their mobile device. The same goes for social gatherings where the male is only there because his partner wanted to go as a couple. If he had his own way he would be back at home avoiding all this idle chit chat.  Contrary to this, the women are chatting away as if they have known each other for years. Relationships are built almost instantly, but for the men, the guard is up. Consider the advantage women would have in the context of a sales meeting or a networking situation. In the world of business, every organisation has to play to its strengths, but one thing is for sure – as our sales team grows it will consist almost entirely of highly capable women.

Just to end, Celsium is proud to announce that its leadership team is 50% female – striking a perfect balance for all business needs.

Stuart Beaty

Celsium, Birmingham, UK