Differences in Leadership by Men & Women


One of the keys to unlock the doors of growth and development is understanding the differences in leadership between men and women. A better understanding of leadership differences between women and men can increase the probability of effective communication.There are times when businesses, families and communities can fall or flourish because of ineffective communication. This is somewhat dependent on your responses toward leadership. A higher degree of understanding can result from identifying the differences between male and female leadership styles. When areas of difference are identified, your ability to respond appropriately to both parties in life and business situations is likely to increase.

Accomplishment Style

  • This style of leadership is understood as how the leader initiates and organizes job activities and processes. In some cases, women are observed to be more relationship-oriented in comparison to their male counterparts. Males are seen as task-oriented individuals. It was Mr. Robert Freed Bales, professor of social relations at Harvard University, who introduced the distinction of task- and interpersonal relationship-oriented styles between men and women. However, some of these characteristics have been witnessed only in a few laboratory experiments, leaving researchers to speculate how both genders would react if they were placed in a natural setting.

Democratic Leadership

  • According to Gary N. Powell's study "Women and Men in Management," women implement a more democratic style of leadership. This style is more participative in nature in contrast to males, who take a more autocratic approach. Women are perceived as promoters of empowerment and cooperative learning. Men, on the other hand, are more direct with their leadership approach. These differences have appeared in some laboratory studies and observations.

Coaching Versus Control

  • There have been several arguments that have surfaced on the topic of women's ability to mediate and negotiate being more effective than men's power- and control-oriented approach. Whether the coaching or control method is more effective is up for debate. However, Dorion Sagan's "Gender Specifics: Why Women Aren't Men" publication attributes these differences to physical differences with regard to male and female brain structure. It has been stated that women are able to follow several trains of thought at a time while their male counterparts focus on single topics. Women are perceived as coaches who guide and nurture their subordinates. Men, on the other hand, can be seen as dictators who just want to get the job done.

Impersonal Approach

  • Men in leadership positions seem to take an impersonal approach to correcting their subordinates. According to Shaunti Feldhahn, author of "The Male Factor," confrontations in the workplace don't seem to distract men in their efforts to accomplish a given task. In contrast, women in leadership roles are believed to hold grudges against those whom they have had to correct or had conflict with. They are said to have issues separating the confrontation from the person or people involved in the decision-making process.


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