What makes women better leaders?

5 minutes

Although the term “leadership” originated only recently, ancient Greeks and Romans began writing about what makes a ‘good leader’ centuries ago. Leadership is a multi-dimensional concept that shapes the fate of an organisation and society as a whole.

A few years ago, if we were asked to imagine a leader, our mind would conjure the image of a man. An alpha male who commands while the rest follow. 

However, our perception of leadership is evolving as we progress into a more inclusive era. It is no longer restricted to traditional stereotypes. Today, a good leader is recognised not by gender, but by qualities like empathy, collaboration, and effective communication. 

Research from Forbes shows that empathetic leaders have more productive and creative teams. They are also more likely to retain talent1. Significant research has found that women tend to display higher levels of empathy than men2.

This shows that diversity in leadership brings out the best in innovation and success. We are steadily moving towards a future where women are seen as capable and inspiring leaders. Studies also show that organisations led by women tend to be more profitable and socially responsible.

What does it mean to be a good leader?

To be a leader means to inspire, motivate, and guide. Leadership is all about possessing a clear vision and purpose. It involves earning the trust of team members by showing integrity. Leaders should also establish a natural connection with their team. This communicates transparency and empathy to team members. A good leader also knows the balance between being approachable and assertive. They are catalysts in cultivating an inclusive and dynamic environment.

Women and Leadership

“Women make highly competent leaders, according to those who work most closely with them,” say, Zenger and Folkman, a company specialising in leadership development programs. In a study conducted by Harvard, women were rated as 84% more effective in taking initiative, acting with resilience, and displaying high integrity and honesty than men4. Compared to men, women display higher levels of emotional intelligence and empathy. This helps them build stronger relationships with their team members.

Since time immemorial, women have been subject to unfair obstacles and challenges. Resilience is in our DNA. It allows us to make tough decisions and adapt better to difficult situations. Despite these commendable qualities, men are typically preferred for leadership roles. But these days, progress seems to knock more loudly than it previously did!

4 qualities that make women better leaders

“The world’s most prominent women leaders show the importance of honesty, courage, impact and decisive action in leadership- Michelle Obama 

A desire to break free from stereotypes

Most of the time, women are forced to fit their identities into a box. Irrespective of their abilities, women are stereotyped based on unfair gender roles. So, it is only natural for them to want to break free from conventional labels. This quality in women challenges traditional norms and expectations and helps them become better leaders who pave the way for gender equality and diversity. It also inspires others to question the existing status quo and build an inclusive environment.

Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

A recent Forbes article found that women are more emotionally intelligent than men5. Empathy enables women to productively use language to connect with others and generate an overall supportive environment.

Catalysts of Collaboration

Women are naturally inclined to collaborate and build relationships. Effective communication and active listening are a few of the many factors that make up good management. Studies also show that women leaders are better at motivating employees, taking initiative, and communicating powerfully during times of crisis7. The caring and nurturing disposition of women also aids them to be more sensitive to their team’s needs. 
Loyalty and Commitment

A research paper published by Science Direct6, states that when compared to men, women are more loyal and committed.  But what does this mean in the context of leadership? In the workplace, women are the ones who bridge the gap between employee satisfaction and higher retention rates by building long-term relationships with employees. So being loyal pays. Literally. 

There is a Wonder Women within each one of us

The character Diana Pince in Wonder Woman is one of the best examples of women in action. She possesses a clear vision and inspires countless others to follow the path of goodness. Throughout the movie, her belief in doing what is right highlights the importance of conviction in leadership. She recognises the power of teamwork and makes decisions based on intuition and thoughtfulness.

Like the iconic superhero, we acknowledge the power of facing adversity and use challenges as opportunities to grow. As leaders, authenticity becomes our superpower, allowing us to lead with strength while staying true to our values. Just as Wonder Woman empowers those around her, being a leader involves inspiring and uplifting others, helping them recognise their strengths. Ultimately, being a leader is a journey of continuous self-discovery, and we, as women embrace the responsibility to pave the way for positive change, and being a leader makes it so much easier to achieve! 

Team YourDOST

YourDOST is an Online Emotional Wellness Coach. Through YourDOST anyone can Sign Up and anonymously seek advice and guidance from Counsellors, Psychologists, Special Friends, Mentors and other experienced individuals.