2024 Best Workplaces™ in Canada are here | Click Here

Best Workplaces™ Managed by Women: Relational Leadership at the Helm of Greatness

 Best Workplaces™ Managed by Women: Relational Leadership at the Helm of Greatness

Best Workplaces Leadership & Management Women in the Workplace


Two of the greatest assets in a leader’s toolkit are their ability to lead towards a purpose, and their capacity to help people extract meaning. When harnessed, they become the backbone of resilience in the face of challenge, the inspiration driving the courage needed with uncertainty ahead, and ignite the power to stay on course to impact something greater than ourselves.

If there was ever a year we needed relational leaders, 2020 has been it.

With the entire world scrambling to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the role of effective leadership has been brought into razor sharp focus. What people need now are leaders with empathy, compassion and the ability to show support – relational skills that are often exhibited inherently by female leaders and in particular stand out as a key asset leveraged by the Best Workplaces Managed by Women.

Relational leadership is focused on bringing people together to accomplish goals centred on a shared sense of purpose, ethical business practices, empowerment and inclusivity. The Best Workplaces Managed by Women show a strong commitment to relational leadership.

Relational Leaders are Authentic

If you’re a relational leader, you inspire trust by bringing your best, honestly and genuinely to your team. You’ll share your motives and goals openly. You’ll have an accurate sense of both your strengths and weaknesses, free of the impulse to keep them hidden. You’ll make clear and direct requests. You’ll feel comfortable in your own skin, consistently across circumstances, and this will set others at ease around you. You’ll express yourself congruently, meaning, your words, your tone and body language will be in alignment. You’ll make only the agreements and commitments you can truly get behind. You’ll do your best to honour your commitments, and when you don’t, you’ll take responsibility for the consequences and do what you can to make things right.

92% of employees at the Best Workplaces Managed by Women believe their management is honest and ethical in its business practices.

Leaders who embody authenticity engender trust and inspire those around them to also be authentic. As a result, everyone benefits.

Relational Leaders are Empathetic

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand others’ experiences, perspectives, and feelings. It’s a tool that relational leaders leverage to bring out the best in others. In practice, being empathetic means, you’ll be able to put yourself in your employee’s shoes as you discover what they value, what motivates them, and how they like to work because of the close attention you’ve given. With this knowledge, you’ll communicate more sensitively and effectively. You’ll also be more likely to predict the effect your choices will have on your teams.

Empathy fosters psychological safety. This is an environment where people are unafraid to speak up, offer their perspectives, take risks, and learn from their mistakes because they’re being respected and accepted.

92% of employees at the Best Workplaces Managed by Women told us they feel that people in their organization really care for one another.

Relational Leaders are Focused on Mastering Relationships

The ability to master personal relationships that build trust and create a collaborative work environment, and maximize human potential is what separates great leaders from merely good ones. Relational leaders tend to the quality of their relationships and show a genuine interest in others. This authentic and empathetic relational leadership is nurtured by small and large gestures of friendship. The Best Workplaces Managed by Women are truly invested in the impact they have on their collaborators and take a proactive approach to cultivating mutually beneficial relationships.

One employee’s experience: “ I once worked with a woman who was exceptional at spending time with the most junior members of the organization and making them feel special. One day, she took me to lunch and later, mailed me a book which we’d spoken about with a handwritten note on the inside cover – a kindness I haven’t forgotten to this day.”

95% of employees agree that their workplace is a friendly environment to work in.

Relational Leaders are Collaborative

As a relational leader, one of your main roles is to create an environment where there is a high level of trust, one where people tell the truth and can get aligned with the purpose, values and vision of their team and the organization as a whole. This trust inspires us to collaborate in ways that are mutual, voluntary, and connected and in turn, increases the likelihood that we will want give our personal best. Relational leaders motivate others towards an outcome and make the journey together along the way worthwhile.

90% of employees at the Best Workplaces Managed by Women feel a sense of pride when they look at the collective accomplishments of the organization.

Relational Leaders Inspire Confidence

These leaders inspire and enable others to do their absolute best together to realize a meaningful and rewarding shared purpose. They are confident in themselves, connected to others, committed to purpose, and emotionally courageous.

90% of employees firmly believe that their management have high levels of competence when it comes to running the business.

Relational leadership sets the tone for a steady, focused business environment that empowers employees by reinforcing that their contributions matter and encouraging them to create a superior experience for others as the key driver of business performance.

And finally, while relational leadership is personal by nature, it can be powerfully embedded into the fabric and culture of an organization when the leadership at the top enables this reality.

About Great Place to Work®

Great Place to Work® is the Global Authority on Workplace Culture. We make it easy to survey your employees, uncover actionable insights and get recognized for your great company culture. Learn more about Great Place to Work Certification.

Want to elevate your workplace culture?

Sign up to get the latest tips, insights and blogs from the global authority in company culture.


Get the latest Great Place to Work® Insights delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign Up