Most political leaders, CEOs and other powerful positions in companies are held by men. Yet, time and again it has been claimed that women are better leaders than men. The few powerful women that we’ve seen in our society are perceived to be lonely, emotional, tough and icy. These perceptions convey the general thoughts and anxieties we have about women in our society today. While most of our leaders are men, many of them also fail and are accused of incompetence. Women leaders are thriving in their positions and are very rarely involved in scandals. So what makes them better leaders than men?
Qualities of women that make them better leaders
Many studies show that women tend to possess better leadership qualities. They are more transformational, they think and act outside the box, they’re good listeners, they are inspirational and they care about the success and development of others. According to Dr. Bernard Bass, the man who developed the transformational leadership theory, women are better suited to the leadership and management needs of the 21st century. They have several important characteristics that make them more likely to succeed:
- They are good communicators
- They do not compartmentalise their lives and therefore use their personal experience and insights to their work
- They value diversity and are comfortable with it
- They understand the importance of relationship and therefore take time to build quality relationships in their organisations
- They do not lead from the top but from the center of the organisational hierarchy
- They look at the big picture before they act
Time and again, we’ve seen a number of well-known, well-liked powerful women reflect these leadership qualities. For women aspiring to be leaders in the future, there’s lot to be learned from the inspirational women listed below:
Condoleeza Rice is the epitome of achievement. She’s a foreign policy expert, an educator, diplomat, a musician and a linguist. She is the first ever African-American woman selected to be the Secretary of State of the U.S. and is known as the Warrior Princess. She has performed incredibly well in her position because of her delicate manners and steely nerve.
Hillary Clinton is a courageous woman, having run for the U.S. president in 2008. She is known for her incredible energy, persistence, sheer determination and her resilience. She has always faced diversity and has bounced back up every time she was knocked down. She isn’t someone who walks away from a challenge.
Yahoo’s Chief Executive Marissa Mayer is known for her incredible passion for what she does. She is a persuasive communication who doesn’t just deliver presentations but tells compelling stories that make others sit up and listen. She is a good listener and an excellent motivator who actively works with her employees to build the brand.
Ranked by Forbes as the second most powerful individual in the world, Angela Merkel is often seen as a strict disciplinarian. However, she is also very down-to-earth, calm, composed and collected. Over the years she has always displayed steady and effective leadership skills that allowed her to triumph in times of the economic crisis.
Why there aren’t many women in leadership positions
In our society, the image of a powerful leader has always been male. We’re therefore more inclined to select men in powerful positions. Men generally control the process of hiring and they mostly favor men in important positions. We’re simply following the status quo and are still reluctant to change it. While it may still take considerable time to see more women in higher positions, research says that the world would definitely be a better place if there were more women leaders.
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