Sei sulla pagina 1di 3

Gender Differences in Leadership

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------So what do you think? Is there a difference between the sexes in terms of leadership styles? Do men or women make better leaders? Would you prefer to work for a man or a woman? Explain. The field of gender differences in leadership styles is an area that is still full of ambiguity and paradox. Despite the number of studies devoted to the topic, there are still unanswered questions. The gender stereotypes based on historical roles has lead to a substantial bias against women and leadership. Although more women are assuming leadership roles today than before, the notion of a woman as a leader is still foreign to many individuals, male and female alike. Changes in perception are difficult to achieve because the traditional norms of leadership are firmly entrenched. In our society, as in most others, leaders have customarily been males. In the past, leadership opportunities for women tended to be limited to all female organizations such as sororities, convents, and female institutions of education-but even there the presidents of womens colleges were almost always men .From this phenomenon the generalization was made that leadership implies maleness and that, since women were not men, they lacked the qualities that are necessary to be leaders. The assumption that leadership equates with maleness is deeply embedded in both our thinking and language. Leaders are often described with adjectives such as competitive, aggressive, or dominant, which are typically associated with masculinity. A female leader is frequently regarded as an aberration and women who become leaders are often offered the presumed accolade of being described as being like men. For instance, Margaret Thatcher was often described as the best man in Great Britain. Some researcher speculated that sex role stereotypes accounted for the lack of women in leadership positions. Early research on sex role stereotypes in
1

Gender Differences in Leadership


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------the late 1960s and early 1970s revealed that men were seen as more competent, and women were seen as warm or expressive. The female sex role stereotype labels women as less competent and warmer emotionally than men, but the stereotype of the effective manager matches the masculine stereotype of competence, toughness, and lacking in warmth. Besides historical roles, some differences were found even in the organizational settings today. The overall trends showed that women were more concerned with both maintenance of interpersonal relationships and task accomplishment-a are more finding that with both confirms and than refutes with the task stereotypical view of women as leaders (conventional wisdom has it that women concerned relationships accomplishment). The strongest difference found was that women tended to adopt a more democratic or participative style, and men tended to adopt a more autocratic or directive style. It must be remembered that there is no one best style of leadership. There is no any strong evidence till date about whether mens or womens leadership styles are more effective. It probably depends on the situation. No doubt a relatively democratic style enhances a leaders effectiveness under some circumstances, and a relatively autocratic style enhances it under some other circumstances. The factors that do significantly influence peoples performance, however, are the length of tenure in the job and organization, the age of the manager and their attitude. In essence, the longer the manager has been in the job and been held to account for their performance, the more positive, outwardlooking and mature they are both in attitude and years; and the more responsive they are to the demands of customers, the better they are as a manager.

Gender Differences in Leadership


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------However, context - the culture of the company, the leadership style of the boss and the attitudes in the office does play a powerful role. Men and women occupying comparable jobs but in different organisations are likely to react differently, not because of differences of personality, or gender, but because of contextual pressures.