7 Leadership Lessons Men Can Learn from Women

As it turns out, men and women are significantly different in their leadership styles. There are 7 leadership lessons that men can learn from women in order to start creating a more universally beneficial workplace environment.

Leaders tend to fall into one of two camps: the classic male leader who ruthlessly pursues his mission (think Steve Jobs) or the traditional female leader who values collaboration (think Mary Kay Ash). However, there is no right answer. What is important is that both men and women strive for empathy when working with other people in order to assemble a winning team.

In a 2012 study in the Journal of Applied Psychology, a group of young men and women were asked to imagine a scenario in which their workplace was about to take huge financial setbacks. After imagining the scenario, investigators asked each participant to select one person from their own team who they would trust to take over the leadership role following such an event.

Of course, everyone selected one of their own teammates. But there was one significant difference: two-thirds of the men chose an equal-status teammate whereas over 90% of the women selected a female teammate.

This isn’t by accident. It’s because men place a premium on leadership styles that are more hierarchical. When men choose their leader (unless they select themselves), they are naturally inclined to position that person as the most capable, the most logical person to assume the leadership role.

On the other hand, women don’t see leadership this way. Essentially, women recognize that there may be many qualified people for any given position; therefore, it is important to select an individual who will be able to listen well and build trust with their colleagues.

What can men learn from this phenomenon? Take advantage of it by ensuring your team members are selected based on their commitment to collaboration rather than competition. This goes for both men and women.

Isn’t It Always About the Money?

The wage gap has been researched extensively. It is no secret that in most developed countries, women earn significantly less than men. This is true even in the U.S., where women in all fields of work earn just 75-80% of what their male counterparts do.

Researchers have made many arguments regarding the reasons for this disparity, but there is one that stands out above the rest: the male work ethic. Men are more likely to value their job because it pays them well; women are more likely to value their job because they enjoy it and get fulfillment from it. That is the essence of the female work ethic: it is not about what you make, but what you do.

What can men learn from this phenomenon? When considering a job opportunity, consider whether or not you would be satisfied simply because that position pays well. On the other hand, if the job has meaning and accomplishment for you, then go ahead and take it: certainty and money will come later.

Women Are Better Communicators

When it comes to communicating, women seem to have an innate ability to connect with others. Many studies have shown that when women are in leadership positions, their teams function better than male-led teams. Interviews with executives and managers revealed that organizational and business success is determined not by individual strength but by the communicative skills of those in the team.

What can men learn from this phenomenon? Women understand that effective communication is key to collaborative teams. Therefore, even if you don’t choose to lead, find a way to talk with as many people as possible about your ideas before making any final decisions. Also keep in mind the fact that our behaviors are shaped over time, so over time you will begin to communicate more effectively regardless of your gender. As an example, researchers have shown that women tend to use smaller gestures during informal conversations whereas men use larger gestures. In other words, men tend to assume a dominant stance whereas women assume either an equal or subordinate stance.

Women Are Better at Listening

One of the most important aspects of effective leadership is listening. Women are more apt to listen well and understand their audience. You can’t be a great leader if you don’t listen to those around you, and women are often better at this than men. In a study by the Center for Creative Leadership, it was shown that female executives scored higher than male executives on “active listening.” The research team concluded that this could have been due to the fact that females have a “more analytical listening style” whereas men focus on what they want to say.

What can men learn from this phenomenon? A healthy relationship with your subordinates is very important in order to manage others effectively. A leader who does not take the time to listen thoroughly before making any decisions will end up hurting themselves and their team. To be a truly successful leader, you must give your subordinates the confidence that they can trust you, that you will listen to their ideas, and that you will respect them by listening to their ideas.

Women Are Better at Managing

Even though women are more inclined to listen well, this isn’t necessarily because they are good listeners. It could also be due to the fact that women are better at managing behavior. We all know that male and female bosses can often clash, especially in the workplace. Women are more apt to hold an individual accountable for their actions and don’t let them get away with what most people perceive as minor mistakes. In a study done by Harvard Business School on leaders, it was discovered that female leaders were more likely to focus on “building up” their team over “breaking down” their team members.

What can men learn from this phenomenon? We all have thoughts and ideas about how we would like to manage others in a certain situation. It is a good idea to test out these ideas with a small group of people before taking the plunge into the big job world.

Women Are Better at Handling Conflict

Women are better than men at handling conflict. Women have a better ability to manage conflict and work with others to solve problems while men prefer confrontation and exclusion. One study by the Center for Creative Leadership revealed that female executives were better equipped to handle conflict than their male counterparts due to their ability to “listen and understand,” while male executives were more likely to “fight and exclude.” Female bosses were also more likely than male bosses to be direct in their leadership style, which can sometimes be viewed as harsh. This study found that female leaders were actually less concerned that the employees felt uncomfortable about any changes or demands they made on them because they understood that change was going on anyway.

What can men learn from this phenomenon? Men and women both have their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to conflict. A good rule of thumb is that you should attempt to resolve conflicts in a respectful manner, no matter who your opponent is. Also, it’s important to keep in mind the fact that the behavior of others in organizations does influence how they behave around you: if someone in your team makes a mistake and you correct him or her, and the staff notices and respects your actions, then you will probably begin to change his or her behavior toward you as well.

Women Are Better at Keeping People Happy

Surely one of the most important aspects of effective leadership is keeping people happy. Women are better at this than men. One study by the Center for Creative Leadership found that female executives were more adept at “building relationships with their bosses” because they are better listeners and are more likely to communicate with their bosses on a regular basis. Female executives also received more “concern, attention, and appreciation” from their superiors, which is key to retaining good employees. Yet another study of 1,000 U.S. employees revealed that women were more satisfied with their jobs than men.

What can men learn from this phenomenon? All of us have probably encountered a difficult leader who was unable to keep people happy. If you are someone who is not able to keep others happy, for whatever reason, it will be very difficult to attract the best people to work for you. If you notice that someone in your team or company is unhappy, try to find out why they feel this way. Maybe they are dissatisfied because of the manner in which they are being managed. We all use different communication styles when we communicate with others, so figure out what communication style your manager uses and model yourself after the person he or she is communicating this way. If you can get your manager to understand that his or her communication style does not suit you then maybe he or she will change it.

Women Are Better at Retaining Employees

If you want to keep your best employees, then you’ll need to show them that they are appreciated for their work. And women are better than men at this. One study by the Center for Creative Leadership revealed that women were more likely to make an employee feel valued. The study also showed that female executives were more likely to develop a relationship with their staff over the years while male executives were more inclined to make tough decisions. Of course, it should be stated here that these differences in management do not always mean good things for the company as a whole because there are cases in which managers should fire people or should exclude certain people from promotions due to poor performance.

Conclusion

Men and women both manage. Men and women both do their best to keep their teams motivated and productive while avoiding unnecessary conflict. Yet there is a difference between male and female managers: female leaders tend to focus more on building up than male leaders on breaking down. Female leaders also tend to be more straightforward in seeking solutions, while male leaders tend to avoid confrontation out of fear that it could lead to any number of problems. Whenever possible, try to choose a female manager if you believe your performance will benefit from her traits over your own.

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