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02 June 2022

Women should be encouraged to take power

After an Economic and Social baccalaureate, Jennifer joined Toulouse’s law school. After her law degree, she decided to join her family business. This is why she joined the business school in Toulouse where she studied for 3 years, including 1 year at Robert Gordon University (Scotland). She officially joined the company as Marketing and Communication Manager and became Managing Director 3 years later. During this mandate, she followed the Management course at TBS. She took over the presidency of the group in 2017, the first woman in 4 generations!


Jennifer Labatut-Darbas 
TBS 2011
Présidente de LABATUT GROUP

How and why were you recruited?

I was recruited thanks to my university education, my determination and my desire to keep the family business going. It must be said that since I was 14 years old, I accompanied my father to meetings with customers, suppliers or even management committees. During my youth, I carried out many very different missions in the company during my holidays: secretarial work, handling, quality, operations, etc. They allowed me to have a real understanding of the field, of the collaborators and to assimilate the company's culture.

To be a woman in the world of transport and logistics, is not usual! But I would say that my colleagues did not make any difference and judged me based on my skills. When you bear the name of one of the founders that signifies an even greater investment and results than normal.

What is your vision of leadership?

A true leader must have several skills. Have a great humility, know how to listen to your teams and possess a great sense of empathy. A good leader has to also know to surround themselves with competent people.

They must bring a vision and a direction, based on values to which they subscribe, trust their teams and give them autonomy. The skill to rally them around common objectives is also essential. This also requires a strong charisma.

 

 

She must free herself from a problem that some women suffer from: The impostor syndrome

 

 Is there a women's leadership? Or a leadership of women?

We should not make generalizations, but yes, in my opinion, there is a female leadership that is characterized by several points. First of all, the woman leader puts less ego in the way she runs her company. Power is not her main goal. Her vision, objectives and results come first. She has a strong intuition and a global and long-term vision. She is also caring by nature with her teams and customers.

How is it different from male leadership?

For many years, leadership was associated with and reserved for men. But this has changed and fortunately so. I would say that women are in a participative management, men are more directive. This is not a rule of course! My managing director is also a participative manager. And that's why I chose him!

I listen to all my colleagues before taking decisions, which helps me to have a global and 360° vision of the issues. On the other hand, I also know how to make decisions when necessary! Courage is an integral part of leadership. And women are extremely courageous. They have fought to reach important positions. This makes them really determined people.

 

If they have the same skills, I favor women.

 

How can it be a plus to be a woman? On the other hand, how can it be uncomfortable?

Women have emotional and situational intelligence, they have great empathy with colleagues and are more sensitive to pro/personal issues, which are major issues in attracting talent.

I think that women must retain their authenticity and have their own leadership style. She must free herself from a problem that some women suffer from: The impostor syndrome. Since it is more complicated for a woman to reach a high position, she must understand that she is not there by chance. Moreover, she is usually able to manage her job, her family, her hobbies, her friends... she multi-tasks!

Do you have any management practices and experiences to share?

In a crisis situation, a leader must listen to their teams, their customers, their fears and doubts. They must extract a path and show the way to put everyone back on the road to success. The COVID period illustrated this. The leader must show an image of guidance. A captain in the storm.

What role do you think economic, political, sociological or cultural conditions play in women's leadership?

When we look at developing countries, we see that women are often better educated and therefore have easier access to positions of responsibility. Of course, women also have access to positions of responsibility in rich countries, but they are still confronted with a certain conservatism in this area.

Have you seen the leadership profiles change?

The packages tend to be more in line between men and women in groups with a real parity policy. Nevertheless, there are still significant differences in SMEs. Fortunately, there are now laws to guide this evolution. Leaders must be coaches for their teams to help them achieve collective performance. And this is an almost daily task.

How to encourage women's leadership?

Encourage women to take power. Show them that it is possible. In schools, in companies, in associations, in sport. Give them the opportunity to join executive committees, management committees, boards of directors, circles of power and influence. Encourage women to join women's networks.

 

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