A study conducted by Pew Research Center to evaluate the effect of gender on leadership showed a negligible difference between the styles favored by men and women about aspects such as innovation, creativity, and ability to inspire followers. Some researchers have observed that female leadership is characterized by traits that include organization, empathy, and compassion. Women in leadership roles can have a great impact on social change because of their leadership styles.
Women in Leadership
Women’s leadership is a great force for community change because of its efficacy for relationship building, collaboration, and effective communication (Northouse, 2016). Women possess superior relationship-building skills that can be used to bring people together and inspire them to pursue a common vision or mission (Christman & McClellan, 2012). Studies have shown that women embrace the transformational leadership style because it is consistent with their gender role (Lussier & Achua, 2015). Women are good at collaborating with other people as well as creating and communicating organizational goals, which are important components of community and social change. Female leadership can provide an integrated and holistic view of effective ways to approach work and family, as well as provide a diversity of perspective that is critical for social change and development (Folta, Seguin, Ackerman, & Nelson, 2012). Effective leadership can have a great social impact by driving policy changes in areas that include parental leave, primary care, public wealth, gender equality, and child care (Cheung & Halapern, 2010). Social change can be achieved through the application of women’s leadership that is open, collaborative, inclusive, and less hierarchical.
Women would be required to develop transformational leadership to increase their presence and representation in different jobs. The aforementioned leadership style is characterized by four components that include idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration (Folta et al., 2012). It would be imperative for women leaders to maintain high levels of integrity and communicate a shared vision with their followers (Northouse, 2016). This goal would be achieved easily because women are visionary and good communicators (Christman & McClellan, 2012). It would be necessary for them to inspire and motivate their employees to pursue goals that hold the promise of a great future (Folta et al., 2012).
Women should strive to find solutions to problems that plague people in different communities. Also, they should seek mentors, pursue both personal and professional development, compete for top jobs, and create family-work balance. The functional or group approach to leadership states that leaders can be developed through learning the key aspects of leadership including accountability and responsibility (Lussier & Achua, 2015). One of the theories associated with the functional approach is Adair’s action-centered leadership, which is founded on the premise that a leader should balance the needs of the individual, team, and the goal. It is also important for women to consider the behavioral styles approach, which focuses on the influence of the behaviors and leadership styles that leaders embrace.
In conclusion, women would make a great social impact by capitalizing on their strengths that include compassion and organization. Modern ideologies of transformative leadership show that women who embrace this leadership style are great leaders because of their traits that include empathy, openness to negotiation, and inclusiveness. Transformational leadership is consistent with female gender roles. Therefore, women should strive to improve their leadership skills through mentorship and learning.
Erin, your post is informative, well-written, and accurate because it answers the question thoroughly. I gained several insights during my research and I would like to expand on your posting. One of the insights I have gained from your post is that women have the potential to assume more leadership positions despite the influence of their leadership styles and lesser human capital investments in certain areas. You state this argument has a scientific basis from the same studies that show differences in leadership style between men and women. I would like to add that women possess qualities that make their leadership styles effective: superior skills in the areas of relationship building, collaboration, communication, and the ability to see the big picture (Lussier, & Achua, 2015). Compassion, organization, and sensitivity are significant condiments of successful teambuilding.
The aforementioned strengths allow women leaders to get attuned to individual team members, utilize individual differences, promote collaboration, and continually alter team dynamics to achieve goals (Lussier, & Achua, 2015). Therefore, it is wrong for society to masculinize leadership, given that the strengths that women and men possess appeal to different leadership dynamics. Unlike men, women avoid the influence of ego and embrace authenticity, which augments their skill of multi-tasking. Women can juggle a broad range of tasks and priorities without compromising the quality of their leadership (Lussier, & Achua, 2015). In addition to seeking mentorship and receiving leadership support, women can benefit from developing their aforementioned strengths, which would bridge the gap between the differences between their leadership styles and the styles adopted by men. Developing their strengths would overcome differences in leadership styles and transform the highly masculinized perception of leadership.
Cheung, F. M., & Halapern, D. F. (2010). Women at the top: Powerful leaders define success as work + family in a culture of gender. American Psychologist, 65(3), 182-193.
Christman, D. E., & McClellan, R. L. (2012). Discovering middle space: Distinctions of sex and ender in resilient relationships. The Journal of Higher Education, 83(5), 648-670.
Folta, S. C., Seguin, R. A., Ackerman, J., & Nelson, M. E. (2012). A qualitative study of leadership characteristics among women who catalyze positive community change. BMC Public Health, 12, 383-395.
Lussier, R. N., & Achua, C. F. (2015). Leadership: Theory, application & skill development. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and practice (7th ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.