Nowadays, more girls than boys graduate from high school and university. And: Studies attest women important leadership qualities such as communication talent and perseverance. But women are still a rare species in the top management of German corporations – less than five percent have conquered a chief executive's chair. SPD politician and Federal Minister of Health Ulla Schmidt talks about her success and female strategies of power in an interview with this site.
"I don't think anyone would accuse me of not being assertive," says Federal Health Minister Ulla Schmidt. "But I always try to give my counterpart the feeling that he is in on it."Respectful interaction and concentration on the essentials – this is how Schmidt describes her recipe for success in her job. "Whether this is typical of women, I don't know. At any rate, it's typical for me," says Schmidt. Not better but different The female leadership style is characterized above all by the fact that it is not always about power and winning. "Among women in the cabinet, there is not so much concern for structure," observes Schmidt. As a result, decisions are made in a "smaller way". Women simply think in practical and solution-oriented terms. That would not mean, however, that women are the better politicians. "There are women, at the top, who can be just as dictatorial as others," the health minister said. "I believe that women simply bring different skills to the job". A woman who had to organize a family at an early age brings these organizational skills with her into professional life. That women are necessarily always the better choice for top positions, however, is not necessarily certain: there have not yet been so many women in top positions that it is really possible to judge that. "But if you look at German managers, I'm convinced that a higher proportion of women in these circles wouldn't hurt," says Schmidt. Democracy must include the experiences of both sexes, he said. "This is the only way to achieve compromise."Yes to family, yes to career Overall, the percentage of female leaders is beginning to grow, Schmidt observes. "Women are needed, their qualifications are required."As a woman with children, however, you are still more burdened than the majority of fathers, despite good childcare options. "The question of organization is still usually with the women."In recent years, legislative framework conditions have been created that make it possible for women to say "yes" to family and child, without this at the same time meaning a "no" to the career path. That's why it's important to promote the compatibility of family and career, she says. "Then there will also be more women in leadership positions." More interviews and articles on the topic: Ladies First – The new success of femininity