While leadership shouldn’t be dependent on gender, most leadership titles are filled by men. While there is no issue about this matter, studies have shown how and why there’s just a handful of women leaders compared to men.
Even though men have been dominating leadership positions, a lot of studies have proven how women make great leaders. We even have and had female CEOs with massive achievements and success to prove this.
We’ll get to these studies later on. For now, out of the fortune 500 companies, how many of them do you think are led by women? 100? 50? 80? Take a guess.
Last year, we hit a new record high. According to CNBC, In 2019, there were 33 women CEOs out of the fortune 500 companies. In 2018, there were just 24 and 2017 used to hold the highest record with 32 female CEOs.
Male leaders far outweigh female leaders. However, in terms of leadership skills, this doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, women even possess traits that can enable them to become better leaders.
Why Are There Too Few Female Leaders?
Just 28% of American CEOs are women. This is according to Scientific American. There are a couple of reasons as to how and why this is. There has been an extensive study that analyzed papers on leadership emergence published between 1957 and 2017.
With the study, students or co-workers were asked to select group leaders or rate each other based on how they’ve led a group. Group participation and one distinct characteristic, assertiveness, have also been measured.
The results showed that men were often chosen to become leaders than women. However, when groups interacted for more than 20 minutes, data has shown that men and women were equally chosen or rated as leaders.
The study has shown that one of the reasons why men tend to become leaders is their assertive personalities. Because they speak up more, they were chosen to become leaders more than women.
However, when groups interacted for over 20 minutes, this is no longer the case. Because everyone became better acquainted, participants relied less on gender stereotypes.
Moreover, a study by Krisztina Timko published on the Munich Personal RePEc Archive showed that men and women are equally effective leaders. Here’s the conclusion of her study:
- In gender-not-revealed, women requested more often “risky high effort levels” than men and they succeed with this method.
- In gender-revealed, men and women have the same likelihood of requesting highest effort and they both are equally effective leaders.
- In both gender-not revealed and gender-revealed, men and women are followed to the same extent. However, there is discrimination in gender-revealed where women were given harsher evaluations for given team performance.
What Makes Women Great Leaders?
While men are more assertive than women, women also possess traits that allow them to become great leaders. Emily He, CMO at DoubleDutch, had this to say,
“In contrast to men, who tend to be career-centric and want to maximize their financial return from work, women view work more holistically, as a component of their overall life plan.”
“Therefore, they’re more likely to approach their careers in a self-reflective way and value factors such as meaning, purpose, connection with co-workers and work-life integration.”
Here are the personality traits of women that make them great leaders:
- They are empathetic
- They value work-life balance
- They are nurturing
These traits are just among others.
They Are Empathetic
Studies have shown that women are more empathetic than men. A longitudinal study even showed that as people age, the gap of emotional empathy also grows. Empathy is a key ingredient in leadership.
In fact, a study conducted by Businessolver found that 92% of employees would want to stay longer at their jobs if their leader would be more empathetic.
They Value Work-life balance
Women value work-life balance and this allows them to be more open to sensitive questions and personal requests. Women are caring and might even teach their young employees how to be more responsible with their finances and relationships.
Having the nature of caring mothers, if topics like student debt come across, they might even help by sharing knowledge such as the student loan payoff calculator. Being able to wear many hats, they can balance their career, household duties, and other things.
Being flexible allows them to be more focused on solutions for everything to be accomplished. According to Amy Killoran, creative manager of I Love Travel, women are more proactive in becoming mentors.
Leadership is also about producing more leaders. With women who are more proactive in becoming mentors, having employees with leadership qualities will be less of a problem. Being a mentor also helps with leadership continuity.
They Are Nurturing
Having the nature of mothers, women are nurturing. They allow team members to grow and develop their own strengths and skills. This is vital in an organization as having better employees can mean better sales and performance.
Bottom line is, women make great leaders and are just as excellent as men. They possess a lot of positive attributes that help them become natural leaders. Next time you encounter a female leader, don’t depend on gender stereotypes.
We hope we are able to make you see why women make great leaders. If you have female friends wanting to become leaders in their organizations, share this article with them. Let’s help more women become leaders of industries.