May 31, 2006
Pay attention to traits of women leaders
On KSBW-TV's "Feedback @ Five" program you discussed
the leadership effectiveness of women. Are you suggesting
women always are better leaders than men?
No. But men do need to pay attention to what women do.
For example, how do they handle stress? My observation
about female leaders: When uncertain or perturbed, they
keep their emotions not too disturbed. They think, act
and move on.
When men run into trouble, however, they're more likely
to run in circles, scream and shout. Men tend to react
and later resolve.
Obviously stereotypes don't define the operating styles
of all men or women. But prudence does suggest that
intensity be tempered with sensitivity. Both women
and men can be more effective when they understand
the value of complementary styles.
The phrase "my way or the highway" sounds clever, but it communicates
a destructive rigidity. Being alert to constructive criticism can save many hours
of debate and months of chaos. Equally important is the awareness that comfortable
working environments without leadership and management expertise can create nothing
or chaos - or both.
Those who can balance the two have what I call 21st Century
Leadership DNA. They combine traditional female attitudes
and actions with the driving forces often attributed
to their male counterparts.
To make the point, let's focus on 10 reasons why women
are effective. Women more often:
- Think of others, often first, facilitating communication
- Use "we" instead of "I" -
especially when describing success.
- Show appreciation for the work of others, easily
- Demonstrate respect for colleagues, avoiding "ego" shows
and showing off.
- Trust others and share credit, assuming they have
- Accept differences of opinion and approach, listening
for constructive alternatives.
- Are willing to work outside and inside the home -
producing revenue and a safe haven.
- Reach out and assist others graciously, keeping the
team moving forward.
- Seek common ground, resolving and not escalating
- Keep their leadership
wake smaller, not disrupting the efforts of others.
My mother said: "You don't have to yell to be heard;
however, you do need to listen."