Elevating Innovation Through Inclusive Leadership: Lessons from Ancient Societies with Women Leaders

Feb 2, 2023

Corporations can learn a lot from ancient societies that had women leaders in terms of implementing inclusive cultures that lead to innovation. Building an inclusive corporate culture that prioritizes diversity and elevates the rate of innovation can be a challenge for many modern corporations. By drawing inspiration from ancient societies that had women leaders, modern corporations can gain insights into how to successfully recruit, support, and retain female leaders. Women leaders can bring fresh perspectives, new ideas, and a collaborative approach to leadership, helping to drive innovation and progress within the organization.

One ancient society that had female leaders was the Minoan civilization, which flourished on the island of Crete around 2500 BCE. The Minoans were known for their advanced level of culture, art, and technology, and their society was largely matriarchal. Women held high-ranking positions in government and commerce, and were able to participate in all aspects of society without discrimination. This allowed for a diverse range of perspectives to be represented in decision-making, which helped drive innovation and progress.

Another example is the ancient Egyptian society, which also saw women rise to positions of power. Hatshepsut, who ruled as pharaoh from 1478 to 1458 BCE, is one of the most well-known female leaders from this time. During her reign, Egypt experienced a period of prosperity, expansion, and artistic and architectural advancements. Hatshepsut’s inclusive leadership style, which valued diversity and encouraged collaboration, is thought to have contributed to the success and innovation of her society.

In modern corporations, promoting an inclusive culture that values diversity and encourages collaboration is crucial for driving innovation. Research has shown that companies with more diverse workforces tend to perform better, as they are better able to tap into the collective knowledge, skills, and experiences of their employees. This, in turn, can lead to the development of new ideas and approaches, and result in more innovation.

Corporations can learn a lot from ancient societies that had female leaders when it comes to implementing inclusive cultures that lead to innovation. By embracing diversity, valuing different perspectives, and encouraging collaboration, corporations can foster an environment that is conducive to innovation and progress. It is time for modern corporations to follow the examples set by ancient societies and embrace the benefits of inclusive leadership for the sake of innovation and success.

Here are some of the most important points that modern corporations can implement to foster a maternal culture that promotes women leaders and elevates innovation:

  • Promote diversity in recruitment: To promote a culture that values diversity and encourages collaboration, corporations need to make sure that they are recruiting a diverse range of employees. This includes recruiting women leaders who can bring new perspectives and ideas to the table.
  • Offer flexible work arrangements: Women who are balancing work and family responsibilities often face unique challenges, and flexible work arrangements can be a powerful tool in supporting them. By offering flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting, flexible schedules, and part-time work, corporations can help women leaders to achieve a better work-life balance and remain engaged in the workforce.
  • Provide leadership training and mentorship programs: To help women leaders develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed, corporations can provide leadership training and mentorship programs. These programs can help women to develop the skills they need to advance into leadership roles and help them to build networks of support within the organization.
  • Promote a positive and inclusive company culture: To support and retain women leaders, corporations need to foster a positive and inclusive company culture. This means promoting values such as equality, respect, and collaboration, and creating an environment where all employees feel valued and respected, regardless of gender.
  • Encourage collaboration and teamwork: Collaboration and teamwork are critical to fostering innovation, and corporations need to encourage these values in order to drive progress. Women leaders can play a key role in fostering collaboration and teamwork, as they often bring a collaborative approach to leadership and are skilled at building bridges between different groups.

Corporations have much to gain from embracing a maternal culture that values diversity, collaboration, and innovation. By implementing the above strategies, corporations can successfully recruit, support, and retain women leaders, and help to drive innovation and progress within their organizations. By embracing the strengths and perspectives of women leaders, corporations can create a more inclusive and innovative culture that benefits everyone.

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David McInnis

President & Founding Partner

David has two decades of global recruitment experience and is Founding Partner of Willard Powell. Prior to founding Willard Powell, David worked with Leathwaite International, a global executive search firm. Before his employment with Leathwaite, David worked for Wachovia Securities (now Wells Fargo Securities) supporting the firm’s Investment Banking & Capital Markets Technology group. David is a graduate of Lasell College in Newton, MA, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with a concentration in Management Information Systems. David also serves as a Trustee on Lasell’s Board.