For the first Moreton Enterprises Director’s Table of the Academic year, Jane Owen Jones came to talk to us about women and leadership. Her views on this subject are prescient and relevant as she has worked in business since she finished her degree. After working for BP and PWC, to name but a few, she has run her own business, Lloydmasters, an alternative consultancy for nearly 30 years.
Jane is used to Moreton as her daughter, Ceri Lloyd, was a student here. Ceri is now studying Business and Maths at Oxford Brooks and was a key part in Moreton Enterprises. Jane therefore understands the dynamic at Moreton and how Moreton Enterprises is run.
Jane began by asking the 20 Lower Sixth and Upper Five, who we thought were/are good leaders. We responded by saying Steve Jobs and Margaret Thatcher, as well as Churchill, The Obamas, Angela Merkel and Emma Watson. We discussed what made famous leaders so good in terms of their characteristics and qualities.
It was an interesting discussion as we brought up some of the issues people had with big personality leaders like Steve Jobs. He was described as “a little mad” and “only coming up with ideas; he didn’t look at the technical side of things”. Yet, as it was pointed out, he remains the person we think of when we think of Apple. We touched on why we think Jobs is the main face of Apple.
We went on to speak about Margaret Thatcher. We talked about the idea that some people do not like her, and questioned whether she would be viewed so harshly had she been a man. Although it is a little controversial, I think it is good for us to hear and disagree with views of others. Debate can make us better communicators and necessarily facilitates our own views and ideas.
We also discussed how women, as leaders, have different characteristics to men, the most pronounced of these is that women are more collaborative than men. This, some may argue, means that women are better business people on a human level. It could also suggests that men don’t deal with what people think of them as much as women do. What seems shocking is that despite all the attributes women bring to leadership, only 17% of top business bosses are women. It’s something lots of us would like to be part of changing and Jane Owen-Jones really inspired us to think of how we might do that.