What landscape business owners can learn from Queen Elizabeth

October 20, 2022 -  By
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Queen Elizabeth was the ultimate leader, as head of the firm — as they call the British monarchy — for 70 years.

When she became queen in 1952, she was regarded as too young, inexperienced and not ready to lead both the country and its overseas territories. Yet, she became one of the most successful royal leaders in history.

(Message to self: Ignore the naysayers, never give up on your dreams!)

Women leaders in the Green Industry

Royalty has always shown that women can lead, going back to Nefertiti, Cleopatra, Queen Victoria, Catherine the Great and many more.

I can’t say the same for the green industry. We have historically been male-dominated. We have many strong female leaders, but our industry still has barriers — even if inadvertent. The good news is we are heading in the right direction. I find myself coaching more women business owners than ever before. And during this year’s Summer Growth Summit, the crowd was brimming with diversity.

Times are changing, but are they changing fast enough?

Our industry associations are taking steps, for example: Setting up women’s groups for networking, diversifying their boards and promoting female presidents.

Ironically, we will know we have made it when women no longer need women’s groups to feel like they have a place to be themselves.

Take action to remove the glass ceiling

My client, Shanna Scordo, president of EarthCraft Design-Build-Maintain in Pennsylvania, shared this list with me of ways you can take action in your business and community:

1. Form a women’s group for students looking to enter the industry. Be their mentor and show them how to set themselves up to win. (This relationship building also doubles as a great recruitment strategy.)

2. Don’t spread out the women in your company; try to let them work together. This tactic can help them find their voice and step into their power.

3. Ask women what they need and ask what problems, challenges or barriers exist in your company. Be willing to hear hard truths. Don’t be afraid to have uncomfortable conversations, and then engage the women in your operation in problem-solving.

4. It’s too easy for a woman to get spoken over in a group of men. Keep a watchful eye, and when your female employee has a good idea, advocate for her.

5. Be aware of your own unconscious biases toward the abilities of women (even women have these biases). Get feedback.

Women are inclusive leaders

Society has a stereotypical notion of leadership: the general charging into battle, the quarterback leading his team downfield.

Business today, however, requires different forms of leadership, more motivating and less autocratic, especially where employees feel more like volunteers.

A 2007 Harvard Business Review study showed women may be better suited for this inclusive style. The article said: “The research tells us not only that men and women do have somewhat different leadership styles, but also that women’s approaches are the more generally effective — while men’s often are only somewhat effective or actually hinder effectiveness.”

Help everyone find their voice

This is not altruistic; it helps the industry as a whole to strengthen and grow when you help everyone find their voice.

We spoke at my Summer Growth Summit about setting up a foremen peer group within your company. This works not just for Hispanic workers and installation departments, but it can also work for women workers and leaders in your firm.

I am personally going to put my money where my mouth is. I plan to roll out a women’s networking group within my client community to foster support and momentum toward a more successful industry.

Stay tuned to learn more about this.

Jeffrey Scott

About the Author:

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author, specializes in growth and profit maximization in the Green Industry. His expertise is rooted in his personal success, growing his own company into a $10 million enterprise. Now, he facilitates the Leader’s Edge peer group for landscape business owners—members achieve a 27 percent profit increase in their first year. To learn more visit www.GetTheLeadersEdge.com.

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