Are Women Better Leaders?

Are Women Better Leaders?

The recent sentencing of Harvey Weinstein highlighted not just his own actions but also brought attention back to the dangers of toxic masculinity. This raises a pertinent question: Are women better leaders?

In today’s workplaces, language and traits often associated with leadership can be gendered. HR terms like “manpower” suggest a default gender, while traits like courage are symbolized by having “balls” or being combatant, typically masculine traits. Unfortunately, this scenario often implies that displaying vulnerability or weakness might hinder one’s career progression.

Underlying masculinity breeds a type of a leader that excels in command and control.

Studies reveal that women face a losing battle in this situation. When they try to fit into the traditional mold of masculinity by prioritizing work over home, they often encounter hurdles. This is because they also bear a heavier load of caregiving and emotional labor, both at work and at home.

If a woman adopts characteristics traditionally associated with male power, it’s often received negatively. When she displays decisiveness and boldness, she’s unfairly perceived as overly ambitious or curt.

What does it take to lead?

Old-school leadership was marked by a strong work ethic, sacrificing work-life balance, clocking in long hours, and motivating through fear. But recent research highlights a difference in leadership traits among the few women in top positions compared to their male counterparts.

According to a Harvard Business Review study, women tend to excel in 17 out of 19 capabilities that distinguish exceptional leaders from average or poor ones. Traits like balancing assertiveness and ambition, leading with empathy, inclusiveness, and a willingness to share power and the spotlight set women apart as better leaders.

Successful women executives often downplay their own contributions to success and instead emphasise the achievements of others. This reflects their focus on collaboration and sharing recognition rather than seeking individual praise.

Influence others through empathy.

Female executives often wield influence through empathy. Their successful approach involves collaboration, leading from a supportive position, ensuring everyone feels valued and essential in the process.

Taking a holistic view of planning, women leaders often anticipate upcoming challenges before they’re evident to others. They grasp exclusion from personal experience and adeptly connect with others, emphasizing relatability. Successful female leaders prioritize creating a comfortable environment for everyone.

Sharing power is a key strategy for female executives. This practice fosters a results-oriented atmosphere without being emotionally draining. It also flattens hierarchies, nurturing trust and fostering collaborative networks between teams.

Aspiring and existing male leaders can benefit from reflecting on and adopting these distinctive attributes that many successful female leaders embody.

(Published in The Star early edition, 3 April 2020)

For more updates and advice, visit our social media pages, or contact our team today.

Recent Posts