It’s Harder for Women

The path to the top is harder for women than men,” Ruth Malloy.

Men can be men but women must be both.

Hay Group has identified six leadership styles. I’ve circled stereotypical male styles in blue and female in pink.

Women using traditional masculine styles without including feminine styles are labeled bitches. Men lacking stereotypical feminine styles, on the other hand, are considered strong leaders.

Organizations expect greater versatility
and broader skill-sets from female leaders.


High ranking female executives climb higher barriers to get to the top. The result, “Top ranking women tend to be more proficient than their male counterparts in the skills required to lead in more global, diverse and networked organizations.” (Full article)

  • Empathy.
  • Conflict management.
  • Influence – achieving results without direct line authority.
  • Self-awareness.

One more step:

This topic feels awkward because some live in a bizzaro world where they believe women and men are the same. It’s disappointing when equality means sameness. Ten dimes and four quarters are the same and different.

If women and men are the same, gender diversity is irrelevant.


  • What challenges do women face when they aspire to executive leadership?
  • Have you been on a leadership team that integrated women? What changes did you observe?
  • I’ve heard women say they’d rather work for a male boss. What’s up with that?


This post is the result of an interview with Ruth Malloy, Ph.D., the global managing director leadership and talent at Hay Group.