Posted by & filed under Communicating To Manage Performance, Communication, Leadership.

leadership and genderA great leader develops a firm and confident stance, can fully understand and articulate the vision of the company, and can inspire team members to follow the vision. All of this results in an effectively managed team functioning with a high degree of teamwork. Does any of this matter whether you are a male or female leader? Is there any connection between leadership and gender? Some very interesting statistics from the Pew Research Center[1] suggest some general viewpoints on the topic.

Leadership and Gender

For example, the top three traits that the American public sees as being the most important or that matter most are honesty, intelligence, and decisiveness. Organization and compassion pull up a firm second-level position. But are men or women perceived as being more honest? Is organization an individual trait or does it follow gender lines? Does the old idea that “Mother was always the compassionate one” hold true in leaders as well?

Research has shown that there are perceived advantages to each gender. Some see traits far more suited to women than men, and vice versa. As it turns out, 65% view women as more compassionate than men, and women appear to be viewed as the more organized and honest gender as well. Does this mean that women are better leaders? Not necessarily, but perhaps it does tell us of the perception of our team members (in general). It makes sense to consider these findings as learning tools for the perception team members may have of leaders, and to use that knowledge accordingly to adjust our leadership or management style.

Having a more compassionate heart toward your team may enable you to elicit efficiency in performance that advances the team’s productivity. At the very least, our teams will feel valued if we model our behavior after desired leadership traits.

But do the perceived trait differences in the genders impact the quality of leadership? Further research shows that in the end, gender does not matter. The top traits are unanimously shared across the genders. However, it doesn’t diminish the potential usefulness of modeling our leadership after the top traits based upon the gender make-up of our team. We can only add value to the effectiveness of our ongoing relationship with our team members.

[1] Pew Research Center, Social & Demographic Trends


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