Male And Female Leadership Styles
Leadership is the action of leading a group of people or an organization, or the ability to do so whereas a leader is a person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country. In order for a family, organisation or country to flourish, capable leaders are essential. Although leaders in the past were predominantly male, nowadays, women too can be leaders. An example of this is Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Michele Buck, CEO of Hershey. However, with the increase of women in positions of leadership, it raises the question – what are the similarities and differences between male and female leadership styles? While there are similarities in female and male leadership styles, there are also differences in communication styles, preferred leadership structure, self-promotion and inclined leadership style.
First and foremost, the similarities in leadership styles between male and female leaders is charisma and confidence. To become a great leader, charisma is essential if one desires to lead a society, organisation, family or even a country. Charisma is defined as a compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others. It is one of the main traits of a good leader. Charismatic leaders are eloquent and are able to communicate to their followers on a deep, emotional level. They are able to convey a captivating vision which spurs their followers into action. If one lacks charisma, they cannot lead effectively. When one has charisma, they will be respected and approved by all. An example of a charismatic male leader is Bill Clinton who is the former President of the United States of America. He left office with an approval rating of 68 per cent, which matched those of Ronald Reagan and Franklin D. Roosevelt as the highest ratings for departing presidents in the modern era. An example of a charismatic female leader is Michelle Obama who served as the First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. She served as a role model for women, and worked as an advocate for poverty awareness, education, nutrition, physical activity and healthy eating. In a favourability poll conducted by Gallup in July 2010, she topped the list and ranked higher than Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton and Al Gore. During October 2010, CNN placed her approval rating at 65%, which was 20 points above her husband, Barack Obama, who was the 44th President of the United States. In addition, Forbes named her the most powerful woman in the world.
Besides, in leadership, confidence is a cornerstone. As a leader, one must have confidence for it is the foundation from which leadership grows. Confidence is defined as a feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities. A confident leader is unafraid to take the reins and make tough decisions. They are unafraid of making decisions and committing to said decisions. During times of turmoil, a confident leader remains calm and poised, unfazed by the problem that has arisen. Such leaders become a steady and reassuring presence to their followers because leaders with confidence are able to lead meetings with authority and give inspiring speeches. Not only do they put their followers at ease with their mere presence, they also meet the expectations of others through the surety of their words, actions and decisions. This is because their assertiveness has managed to convince others to have faith in them. An example of a leader who has confidence is Elon Musk. He is best known as the co-founder, CEO, and product architect of Tesla, Inc. He truly believed that Tesla would be successful and has shown his conviction many times through his actions. He converted 532,000 stock options at $6.63 (their value on the 4th of December 2009) each before Tesla went public. It was a hefty bargain considering Tesla’s stock price stood at around $195 per share at that time. His confidence paid off for Tesla is currently the most valuable American car company, worth $53.5 billion at market close today, which is about $3 billion more than General Motors.
Male leadership style can be viewed from communication style, preferred leadership structure, self-promotion and inclined leadership style. Communication is defined as the successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings. Communication plays a significant role in leadership. Those who possess good communication skills fare better than others in the workplace. Male leaders instruct their followers in a more direct and assertive manner by making blunt statements. This bluntness is not to be assumed as arrogance or pride for it is merely their style of giving orders. Men in leadership tend to ask less questions because questions are asked only to gain information about a situation or problem. Should a problem prove to be too much, they normally withdraw due to stress. This is done because withdrawing gives them time to compose themselves and arrange their thoughts in a proper manner. They intend to speak to clear doubts so a well thought response allows them to be understood when they speak up to resolve the problem or misunderstanding. They also believe that communication should have a clear purpose. Therefore, they prefer speaking in a clear and concise manner regarding the topic at hand. Besides speaking to clear doubts, they also voice out to share important details and vital information regarding a project or problem.
Moreover, male leaders prefer a hierarchical structure of leadership whereby power belongs to the position rather than the individual. This structure of leadership allows for clear-cut roles and simpler delegation of authority. This structure plays into their strong liking of contest, dominance and pecking order as seen in the patriarchal order which has been used since generations ago. However, this structure has pitfalls because it tempts those who wield that position to abuse the power that comes along with it. Furthermore, men in positions of leadership are better at self-promoting. Self-promoting should not be seen as self-serving because it is an important skill in leadership. Since men are better at self-promoting, they take credit when credit is due. This is a form of responsibility practised by them since it benefits not only themselves, but also their subordinates because such a move allows followers to receive recognition for their hard work and co-operation. In addition, men are inclined to use transactional leadership style. This style of leadership favours results above all else. Male leaders consider themselves as dominant figures separate from their team, thus they engage less with their followers on a personal and emotional level. They also expect their orders to be obeyed without question, expecting their followers to complete the tasks assigned to them.
Female leadership style can be understood from communication style, preferred leadership structure, self-promotion and inclined leadership style. In female leadership, communication style is different from males. This is due to the cuddle hormone which means that female release an aura that makes people and her surroundings are comfortable with the female leadership style. Females have the desire to personally connect with their employees and always ask how the employee’s condition instead the project’s progress. Females leaders tend to share their feelings with their co-worker and employees and they would also expect to share it back with them. It is not a surprise why female leadership is more popular and likeable than male leadership. Moreover, women prefer verbally expressing their emotions. People would view the female leadership an opportunity to connect and grow with their employees and co-workers. They will also give directions to achieve goals. According to the research of Neuroscientists; oxytocin levels are more in women than men which causes them to have a strong desire to connect and care for their employees. The differences of speaking styles, female tends to have a soft yet firm tone in dealing with stuffs and matters. If male styles speak a bit harsh but for female it used multiple messages behind their words and it can be defined as a quality that people enjoying listening about it. However, there are some cons of female speaking styles because female tend to speak a lot more than males and sometimes people find it a bit boring to listen if the topic is disinterest.
In contrast of leadership structure, female leaders are extremely task-focused and are therefore regarded as perfectionist. This trait helps the organization run properly as well as allowing the employees to work in a harmony condition. Moreover, this is considered as a strategic perspective in leadership. Female leaders also utilise transformational style to lead a society or organization. It is a powerful trait to possess because it makes necessary changes to an organization. Without this trait, there would be no capability of re-inventing at necessary junctures. For example, CEO of Yahoo; Marissa Mayer is a transformational leader because she changed Yahoo from a search engine and app to other products. Besides, female leadership tends to create a flat organization structure. The goal is to create a new product or service and it requires tight integration amongst team members.
In terms of difference self-promoting, female leadership promotes cooperation and collaboration amongst team members. This is really important to manage a large or geographically team. There would also be a chance of reducing the work weight. It is also stated that female leadership skills have the ways of indirect communication thus allowing the team members, followers or employees to use their knowledge to complete the task given.
Last but not least, female leaders’ inclined leadership style differs from males. They mentor and train employees and team members in order to upgrade their current knowledge, skills and abilities. It is extremely important as it would ensure the coverage amongst team members if one associate and is busy with other projects. It is also noted that strategic leadership is associated with inclined leadership style and it is considering as a strategic productivity. It is to develop and predict the aim of the employees forecast of context of their own duty and job. Moreover, it is also improve the productivity and quality and also better performance for their organization.
In conclusion, there is a stark difference of leadership styles between male and female leaders. It should be noted that the facts above are based on what is favoured by a majority of each gender. Therefore, it is recommended that one should not rigidly categorise the two leaders into their respectively genders for different people have different leadership styles regardless of gender.