The rise of female leaders nationally and globally is proving to have a huge affect on what leadership means in the modern world. While the business world is largely accustomed to the way men do things, as they still fill the majority of leadership roles, new studies reveal that the different leadership styles of women may be more effective than what has been traditionally practiced. In fact, it’s the personality traits found more dominantly in women that are having the most profound positive affect on employees.
And isn’t that what we all need to hear? Instead of being cited as a weakness, female personality traits are actually a strength. A new study conducted by Caliper, a Princeton-based management consulting firm, which assessed the potential of more than two million applicants and employees for over 25,000 companies around the world, and Aurora, a London-based organization which comprises a 20,000 member businesswomen’s network, focused on the personality traits that distinguished female leaders.
The study found that women were exceptional in four key areas:
Empathy Distinguishes Female Leaders
In the business world, empathy translates to effective persuasion skills. Female leader’s ability to understand and genuinely care about where their audience is coming from, allows them to not only alter their own viewpoints but to address any concerns objectively and offer creative solutions. This leaves employees feeling heard and valued, and ultimately leads to a more cohesive work environment.
Comparatively, male leaders tend to approach situations from their own point of view, which limits their ability to emphasize with others and be flexible. They rely on strength to force other people to accept their position rather than actual persuasion. Understandably, this can lead to problems in an organization – especially as collaboration is routinely cited as an important component in aiding creativity.
Adversity Makes Women Stronger
We all know the phrase, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, but it seems that women take it heart more than their male contemporaries. The Caliper study found that despite female’s tendency to be harder on themselves when they mess up, they’re more motivated to learn from their mistakes and prove everyone wrong.
So, every time a woman encounters naysayers, instead of experiencing a confidence, they’re even more determined to achieve great things. This is beneficial characteristic for female entrepreneurs who are just starting out, and for female leaders who are tasked with overcoming hurdles mid-project.
Female Leaders Concentrate on Inclusion
What is most interesting about female leaders focus on inclusion is that they typically scored higher on flexibility and urgency than their male counterparts. Despite their focus on urgency, they still made the time to ask questions and to actively seek out other viewpoints.
Their final decision didn’t need to match their original point of view; instead, female leaders were more interested in really listening to the viewpoints of everyone included on the project. People often listen only to confirm their own beliefs; the female leaders surveyed demonstrated that they were focused on creating a collaborative plan that incorporated the best of every contributor’s ideas.
As the information age continues to evolve, this inclusive leadership style is only going to become more of a strength.
Women Take Risks
Perhaps surprisingly, women aren’t interested in being cautious or following established procedures. Instead, they seek innovation. Due to their higher focus on urgency, they’re less held up by the small details, and willing to risk in order to get things done. Combined with their assertiveness and their ability to learn from their mistakes, women leaders are constantly pushing the envelope on what can be achieved.
Perhaps the most telling aspect of the study was an observation by Dr. Greenberg, president and CEO of Caliper, who found that although men were exceptional in these areas as well, women were setting a new standard. It appears that women are creating a paradigm shift in leadership simply by being themselves.