Females in countries across the globe are excelling in the opportunities they have earned. The data now shows what many have always known: women make extraordinary leaders! In fact, according to evidence cited by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman in Harvard Business Review, women outperform men in the key aspects of leadership.
Of course, the fact that women often outperform men as leaders is groundbreaking news to no one who has ever known a driven woman. Still, some women are reluctant to test the research when opportunities for promotion arise. I went into this topic in detail in Part 1 of this series.
There are certain characteristics attributed to the female gender which tend to help women in their positions of power.
Leadership is a series of behaviors rather than a role for heroes.Margaret Wheatley
Listening and Interpersonal Relationships
Being heard makes people feel valued. It’s a well-known fact that listening promotes better interpersonal relationships, opens the door for empathy, and generates better working interactions. Strong interpersonal relationships tie closely with worker satisfaction. Generally, women learn at a young age to socialize in a way that helps listening skills. This is a learned skill that women practice often, so it’s no surprise that it translates well into the office.
Kimberly Fitch and Sangeeta Agrawal report that according to Gallup polls, female bosses keep employees more engaged in their work. As a result, employees spending more time on task. This focus results in improved productivity. Successful companies benefit from employee engagement, and the fruits of that labor help worker morale. This is just better for businesses overall.
More Female Power Traits
A recent article in Business News Daily listed 17 other traits that make women great leaders. Some of these characteristics include:
- A more holistic outlook
- Teamwork oriented
- Strong multi-tasking skills
- Performing well under high stress
These qualities are, of course, not limited to women. However, whether by nature or environmental influences, we more closely associate these attributes with females.
Fighting for Their Chance
We know that when it comes to leadership opportunities, women often have to work harder. Some of the data from polls could simply be a reflection of the extra effort women must make to feel equal to their male peers in the eyes of colleagues. (This includes both those working for them and management.) In any case, the reason doesn’t matter as much as the outcome. Women are fighting for their chance, and it’s important that we see them in order to give them opportunities in leadership roles.