Unlocking Leadership Secrets: Men vs Women

6 minutes

Long, long ago, there lived a king in the land of deserts, who was known for his organised and just leadership. But the king had a secret that no one knew; Not even his staff. The king sought ideas and decisions from his wife, the queen, and announced them the next day. These announcements were regarded as the ultimate decision. 

One day, the king fell sick when there was an important decision to be made in the court. He appointed the queen to make decisions for the day and sent her to court. This move wasn’t welcomed well by his subjects. As soon as the queen started announcing her decisions, the subjects murmured and ridiculed the queen as they believed that a woman could never be a rational leader. They were completely unaware that all the decisions and rules set out by the king were the queen’s words. The king arrived at the court and disclosed the secret to his subjects and from that day on the king and the queen made decisions for their land together. They were never again questioned by the subjects.

This story may make you wonder if men or women make better leaders. This is a question that started countless debates among experts and organisations alike. The answer, however, is more complex than we expect it to be. Several factors help establish a leadership style that makes men and women excel. These factors can be communication styles, decision-making, emotional intelligence, crisis management, and other unique strengths each gender brings to the table. 

Though each individual is different and has varied notions and opinions, we’ll look into the general aspects that differentiate men and women in the leadership world. 

Communication Styles

One of the key factors that determine a leadership style is communication. The art of engaging with fellow employees and communicating the goals of the organisation effectively can define the success of leadership. Diving deeper, we find communication isn’t just about the words spoken; it’s the listening, the understanding, and the space between words where true connection is established. Women, often lauded for their emotional intelligence, excel here, improving trust and rapport. Meanwhile, men with their straightforward approach, cut through the noise, making swift, impactful decisions.

Men usually are perceived as straightforward leaders, while women bring a sensitive touch, that focuses on the importance of connections. According to Forbes, women leaders were shown to go out of their way to offer guidance, ask for progress updates from team members, and give encouragement and support to others when needed. The diversity in communication styles helps shape the tone of the leadership and influence the organisational dynamics. However, it is clear that whatever mode the communication style may be, women and men leaders must communicate effectively for the organisation’s success. 

Decision-making Approach

In leadership, the decision-making approach adopted by men and women is a factor that distinguishes their mode of conduct. Men often lean towards swift, decisive actions that emphasise authority. While women have a consultative style that values collaborative inputs from team members in the decision-making process. This difference shows the varying dynamics of leadership styles and the adaptability of each gender’s approaches. This disparity sheds light on the fact that broader conversations about the integration of various leadership styles are necessary for effective decision-making in organisations.

Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

The concept of emotional intelligence has become prominent over the years, emphasising the importance of self-awareness, empathy, and interpersonal skills in leadership. Women are known for fostering high emotional intelligence that helps create better relationships in the team. According to research by the National Library of Medicine, women leaders may score higher on emotional awareness and empathy tests, especially when measured through self-reports. Examining how emotional intelligence influences leadership effectiveness showcases the importance of connecting with others on a personal and emotional level.

Handling Challenges and Crisis Management

Leadership qualities are often tested in times of crisis or when the organisation faces challenges. Men and women try to navigate the turbulent waters with distinctive approaches, each showing the capabilities and power of leadership. Men are often perceived as resilient and decisive and exhibit a steadfast commitment to handling challenges. Their ability to make tough decisions swiftly can instill confidence and direction during times of crisis.

Women bring a unique skill set to managing crises which includes composure, collaboration, and a knack for finding holistic approaches. According to the Harvard Women and Public Policy Program, women are more likely to be trusted to lead organisations in times of crisis if they exhibit high levels of relational behaviours, which are more common among women leaders. 

Impact of Societal Expectations

The way society perceives leaders has been the same for a long time. Society has created a notion that leaders must be strong, and sure of themselves, and mostly, they’ve been men. This idea has made it tough for both men and women to see themselves as leaders in their own way. Men might feel like they have to act tough and strong all the time, while women might find it hard to be seen as leaders because of these old ideas. 

But things are starting to change. More and more women are becoming leaders, showing that what matters is how one leads, not whether they’re a man or a woman. Breaking away from these old thoughts is helping us see that there are many ways to be a good leader. When we start to appreciate different leadership styles, it makes it possible for everyone to show their strengths. 

An organisation where the leadership is diverse and aware of inclusivity tends to attain success much faster. In the end, it becomes evident that women and men contribute their unique skills to leadership, adding depth and value to the bigger picture. Rather than comparing the skills of men and women and pitting them against each other, embracing diversity in leadership helps create a more inclusive and dynamic approach. As we move forward into the future generations, it is important to break free from the stereotypical notions of leadership. This helps us appreciate the mosaic of leadership, recognising that true power lies in the blend of masculine and feminine leadership methods.

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