How to become a leader without having to act like a man
Since attending the International Women’s Day with the United Nations I have been puzzling over one of the theme that came out of the day: how to become a female leader without needing to act like a man. Research shows that many women currently in leadership positions have ‚male characteristics‘. Both male and female executives tend to demonstrate an archetypical “leader personality” focused on assertiveness, high-level strategic thinking, and decisiveness (see the article in the British Psychological Society referenced below).
What would need to happen that women could become leaders even if they are less assertive, strategic or decisive? I can imagine that leadership with the opposite characteristics could function very well too – especially in modern days flat hierarchy structures and wish for shared leadership. Leadership through cooperation (rather than assertion), attentive to what is needed now (instead of strategic) and careful discussion (instead of being decisive) with the other leaders in the team could potentially lead to better business results than ‚who shouts hardest‘ gets the say-so.
Indeed, for agile organisations, it seems the opposite leadership characteristics are needed than what are generally known as male characteristics.
Is this our chance? If you would like to discuss further, please contact me to join the Female Leadership Coaching Group.
British Psychological Society: “Male and female bosses share the same ‘classically masculine’ personality traits”
Agilebusiness.org: Culture and Leadership: The Nine Principles of Agile Leadership