A Kinder, Gentler Leadership
Women best men when it comes to effective leadership. So says the third annual Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor, a survey that tracks responses from more than 6,500 individuals around the world, examining perceptions of leaders in business, politics, community, non-profit, and organized labor organizations.
Specifically, female leaders around the world topped their male counterparts in four out of seven metrics of effective leadership: “leading by example,” “communicating in an open and transparent way,” “admitting mistakes,” and “bringing out the best in others.” A fifth metric—“handling controversial issues or crises calmly and confidently”—placed males and females near even.
Beyond gender distinctions, the data has important takeaways for all leaders. Those who are respectful and reinforcing, who are willing to admit mistakes, and who openly lead by example will blaze a path to the future. “It’s not about a value judgment on either gender, it’s simply saying what matters to the world now is systematically being displayed more by female leaders than male leaders,” said Rod Cartwright, director of Ketchum’s Global Corporate & Public Affairs Practice.
Please share your thoughts. Do you admire leaders (male or female) who exemplify the traits Ketchum respondents identified? Do you consider yourself such a leader? Join the conversation and click "comments" on our Community of Practice Forum.
6/24/2014 03:00:00 am
Not at all surprising and reinforces what I see regularly in both business and public service settings. So the question remains why so few women in top leadership positions? And why do pay and promotional opportunities for women continue to lag? Clearly, we're bringing the goods - highly educated, strong leadership skills, years of experience- so continued sexism is the only answer I can see.
6/30/2014 01:57:43 pm
Thank you for helping us to think this through, Suzanne. Such a nuanced issue that we keep trying to get our heads around!
6/24/2014 07:02:05 am
Previously, I have found male managers to be better leaders. They have been calmer, more logical, and supportive leaders. I have watched female managers and heard the complaints of their team members and I believe that many female managers try to over-manage their team. They become obsessed with following all work procedures with a religious zeal that inhibits their team members from enjoying their work. I think they are trying to over-compensate because they feel they need to be stronger, more exacting, in order to match up to their male counterparts. However, in saying all of that, my current manager is female and I have high respect for her because she has shown honesty, a willingness to work with us, has supported us, a caring nature, as well as being knowledgeable in her area.
6/30/2014 02:01:34 pm
Perhaps, Kylie, as more women are appointed to these higher level of leadership there will be more models for the kind of management style you are currently experiencing and enjoying. Thanks for your insights.
6/24/2014 09:36:03 am
It seems to me that the women meeting leaders I've observed are more likely to assertively keep to an agenda. Meetings seem to begin and end on time with women leaders. Not much irrelavent stuff.
6/30/2014 02:02:49 pm
And meetings that are focused and relevant are prized by many. Thanks Sally.
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