Where Women Leaders Are Better than Men
I asked the “Freaks” that follow my Facebook page, “What are women leaders better at than men?”
- Knowing when there is no value in fighting.
- Understanding when someone just has a crummy day.
- Understanding the pressures that other women leaders face.
- Organization and multitasking.
- Building consensus, supporting staff, sharing credit, and leading from the middle.
- Emotional Intelligence.
- *Smiling through the pain.
- Focusing on details.
- Mission focus and *tolerance.
- Valuing people for who they are not just what they do.
- Building relationships that last.
- Creating an environment where mistakes are not just tolerated but seen as essential to growth.
- What can you add, amplify, or illustrate?
Generalities and stereotypes that lock people in restrictive boxes belittle everyone. On the other hand, celebrating difference honors individuals and enhances organizations.
Note: Items are listed in the order they were posted on Facebook. An asterisk indicates that item was mentioned more than once.
“It’s Harder for Women than Men”
“Where Men Leaders Are Better than Women”
The list you’ve culled from your facebook questions is interesting. I like that most of the qualities expressed are gender-neutral. It’s not that men don’t have these qualities, as many of us will attest to. It’s that women tend to display these more often or more consistently.
I wonder what the question “What are men leaders better at than women” would reveal.
I’m going to facebook to post your question.
This post makes me thankful. It is important to talk well of each other – to value the differences.
These kind words about women qualities are seldom heard – in this context. The debate is so often made a degenerating competition.
I look forward to read what Men are good at and I will contribute:
Men are good at
– being objective
– being brave in large gatherings
– trust cold logic
– trusting in themselfs
I have to agree with all, but most especially with number 4.
I’d like to add that women are so willing to work hard.
Whenever there is a group project, a team goal, a big challenge women will just dig in and do more work than anyone could ever imagine.
Their expectation (for themselves) is to work hard. I don’t think they think ‘delegate’ as much as men. Maybe that is a leadership drawback.
But if you have a mega task or challenge at hand, ask a woman. She will wow you.
The skill I find most helpful is knowing when there is no value in fighting and not letting someone provoke me. Also not letting my ego get in the way of the success of my team. I find the more I give credit to others the more driven my team is.
Nice! Love it! No debate here on that one.
I would add: “Women see information as a universal right, men see it as leverage.”
A good debatable topic where majority of men will not easily agree on their supremacy in any field and certainly not in a professional life.
Some women executives are quite intelligent and participate well in group meetings. They are also very graceful and excellent in presentations with convincing talks. At times, they are better listeners and equally hardworking.
The intellectual class of women is certainly different and worth appreciable. They can be rated as equals but can’t be put under better category.
I love this. I believe it’s true, as I have worked with other women and do find much more flowing cooperation. However, it depends on context. When I was in the Air Force, I hated working with most women… I believe because we were in the “mens world” and women perhaps felt a need to prove themselves…. so most women i worked with there were actually very competitive, aggressive and somewhat ruthless. Was not healthy.
I would add “Understanding, managing and nurturing”. Women are born managers. They manage kids, kitchen, budget and time. They learn these managerial skills from experience. When they move to workplace, they think broader and learn to manage family and work together. Here they learn leadership traits. It means they know how to manage people and business. By nature they are compassionate. They nurture kids and hence when situations arise at workplace, they apply these skills. There could be many quotients that women have, but one important quotient is empathy that makes them unique. They are sensible and mature to take decision which is right and relevant.
Personally I find debates over stereotyping like this question calls for unproductive. It seems to me that practices that lead to effective leadership cut across gender. Besides that, individuals within each gender seem cover the range of good and bad leaders.
I have to agree with Rob.
My experience from working with men for many years is that they are naturally more confident than women. I have seen this again and again that women (we) value our own skills as poorer, not good enough, not clever enough and so on.
Boys more often tend to say: I can do this, “piece of cake” and good for them! Of course I am talking professionally. Not domestically – since this is the topic of this site. So as I see it women need to know that they are good enough, that we can do it.
Everybody grows when being shown trust. That is why I embrace the writings of Dan. Not because I think women are better than men, by no means but because we women need to know that we can “deliver the goods” professionally.
Who knows perhaps there will never be many women top executives or bosses but we cannot afford to loose the most capable flag bearer, the PERSON that can lead in the most fulfilling and wholesome way – even though it may turn out to be a women. Women often needs some encouragement.
So once again Thank you.
Hi Rob – I agree with you. I have now had the privilege of working with more women than men, at the end of the day you are dealing with intelligent and articulate colleagues.
I got asked a question at a job interview – How do you feel about working with women? I am sorry but I do not pay attention to whether my colleagues are men or women – they are human beings and we are stronger as a team where honest & fierce conversations lead to better understanding and growth.
When they don’t know an answer, women are less afraid to say, “Can I get back to you on that? I’d like to look into it.” Men are more apt to provide answers whether they know FOR SURE or NOT.
What a great list. Women do all these things, but caution, female leaders can also be aggressive, contolling and relentless…just because they ARE leaders and they fell this is what leaders do.
Sorry feels like a 1950’s newspaper article. It will certainly get lots of comments. Gender has little bearing on what makes a good leader or what personality traits someone has.
The list is both patronizing and perpetrates stereotypes. By perpetrating stereotypes we ascribe the wrong attributes when what we are looking at are overcoming old, inefficient leadership styles. Making leadership a gender-based comparative issue is like saying white people are smarter than black people, Christians are better than Jews, etc. A friend of mine works for an organization staffed 100% by women. She regularly talks about significant deficiencies in the leadership of her organization, (especially on most of your 19 points). My male friends who work in male-dominated businesses, e.g., car manufacturing, regularly tell me how awful the leadership is.
The reasons for the deficiencies seem to be lack of skill, training and application of leadership that your article naturally assumes are attributable to women.
Let’s talk more about what needs to be better in leadership and where women and men can make a difference. There are variables in the way each gender approach leadership, but the fundamentals and the principals are the same.
This debate is out of course, as I see it. Certainly good leaders need all the best qualities – and these qualities are distributed to persons regardless of gender. All the wonderful contributions on this web site have previously been dedicated to making leaders good and better: We know and talk a much about what qualities a good leader must posess. Generosity is one of these traits. Ability to serve and help is an other. Of course all these “token women” have made mistakes. If anyone genuinely want more women leaders – give them a pat on the shoulder – a kind word. Haven’t we all been there and needed that?
My boss told me: “There will be no difference between men and women managers in the society when you will be able to find incompetent women leaders as you can usually find men!” think about it. I know a lot of incompetent men managers, but very very few women…
I agree that stereotypes can be belittling so, instead of just laundry-listing random ways in which women are better leaders (most of which are way squishy) how about reverse-engineering it by looking at business results. The truth is that companies with women in senior leadership positions and on boards of directors are more profitable, return greater shareholder value and enjoy greater stability so it behooves us to look for patterns shared by these women. Among many of the other leadership qualities needed in a global, multi-cultural marketplace is women’s tendency to take risk more cautiously. That’s much more compelling to me than understanding when someone’s had a crummy day. ALWAYS make the business case; whereas the soft skills are critical and actually are informing a newly imagined leadership model, they defy solid metrics. So, again, always make the business case.
Also, I push back on the “focus on details,” which taken alone without an overarching vision can result in a bogged down decision-making process.
I’m a little to smart to fall into the trap of tackling any of the specifics on this list. I agree with others that to contribute with additional categories is to further advocate steriotypes. The steriotypical one would easily agree on 5) compassion 6) Empathy, and 7) Tenderness, however I know a lady that holds the top position at very successful company that would not rate well in those three categories.
The best leaders are the one’s who are never satisfied with the status quo, work hard for continous improvements and make best use of available resources. Male or female they are always learning and self improving. Last but not least they are not overly concerned with how they match up against the other gender on a 19 point checklist.
But I give you credit, you sure know how to start a dialogue.