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21 Friday 2020 |

More female leaders? More co-CEOs! 

Books on leadership, business clubs and conferences for women at the top are springing up like mushrooms. So is there a difference between male and female leadership? This is the question Ianka Fleerackers, in her Brave New Human podcast, asked our founder Nele Van Damme. And why does a co-CEOship between a man and a woman, such as at Upgrade Estate, work better? Nele explains why she believes in a combination of men and women leading a business.



“It's clear to see how much female leadership has been in the picture in recent years”, says Nele. “I think it’s good that it is more common, but I'm not of a fan of women’s associations in the business world. By focusing on female business clubs, we are essentially doing the same as male entrepreneurs: dividing men and women. I am more of the opinion that we need to connect the two to achieve the best dynamic. I firmly believe in a combination of men and women leading a business. Probably because our management team has a good balance and that delivers excellent results .”


“To me, leadership style is more a personal than a gender thing”. - Nele Van Damme


A leadership type is… personal

What type of leader you are is nothing to do with your masculine or feminine qualities, according to Nele. “To me, leadership style is more a personal thing, about who you are, than a gender thing. I like observing people. Who has what talents and how can we make the best possible use of these talents?” 


“I'm also an advocate of allowing people to grow and looking at the personal development of our people. This is why we've set up an internal leadership programme, which a dozen or so non-managers attend every year. Most of them now manage a team, sometimes a large team, but it can also be one individual.”


"Choose me for who I am, not because I’m a woman.” - Nele Van Damme


Consider a co-CEOship

“Should there be more female entrepreneurs or leaders? No idea”, says Nele. “I have an aversion to being asked to form part of a board because there aren’t enough women there. Choose me for who I am, not because I’m a woman.” 


“Although I'm sure that some companies with a male CEO would really stir things up if they started a co-CEOship with a woman. But it’s not something that keeps me up at night. I’m already glad that female leadership is in the spotlight.”
 Listen to the full conversation between power women Nele and Ianka in the podcast: Taking a walk with Brave New Human Nele Van Damme - Upgrade Estate