Running head: WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP
Women in Leadership
Baker Center for Graduate Studies
For Dr. P. Karbon
BUS 685 Dynamics of Leadership
May 1, 2007
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I certify that I am the author of this paper and that any assistance I received in its preparation is fully acknowledged and disclosed in the paper. I have also cited any sources from which I used data, ideas, or words, either quoted directly or paraphrased. I also certify that this paper was prepared by me specifically for this course.
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What follows is a discussion about leadership from the female perspective. Gender differences are found in leadership styles, success, and failures just as other differences in human beings are represented. The focus of this paper is to study and understand those traits and styles which make women successful in leadership. The early socialization of females differs from that of males and contributes greatly to the traits and characteristics of future leadership style. A few females in successful leadership positions are profiled as characteristics and styles which they possess are pertinent to the discussion, and as many of the personal experiences in their climbs up the ladder of success serve as examples.
Women in Leadership
The word “leadership” conjures up images for most of us which, unfortunately, do not automatically bring women to mind (Wilson, 2004). Fortunately, that may be changing, albeit slowly. Some people point out that because the female gender makes up more than half of the general population that their numbers should be more represented in the business world leadership. However, the usual training grounds for leadership in business are “line positions” and currently, these are held by men at a rate of over 90% (Wilson, 2004). One of the reasons suggested for the relatively slow movement of women into leadership positions is that leaders are often chosen from the ranks of people who have amassed more than twenty years of experience in their field. While there are certainly female pioneers in many industries who began their careers many decades ago, women generally are just beginning to qualify in that regard (Wilson, 2004). Organizations will have to expand their notions about what constitutes effective leadership as it relates to gender, stereotyping, and role expectations because, as more women are earning graduate degrees, it is estimated that women will outnumber men in management roles by the year 2030 (Girion, as cited in Stelter 2002). Socialization Effects on Leadership
Copying traditional male leadership styles has not worked for women. The rigid hierarchies and top-down management styles which have been traditionally male are outmoded. The behaviors which are proven more successful in leadership positions are ones towards which women are naturally socialized. Anthropologists have found that females tend to be more nurturing, collaborative, empathetic, and anticipatory (Book, 2000). Female intuition and emotional mirroring are just two of the abilities which show up in brain-imaging studies as “talents” which women possess. Women are especially adept at observing another person’s emotional state and automatically activating similar brain patterns (Brizendine, 2006). This kind of empathetic sense can be valuable in many leadership situations. Women also tend toward strong values that they bring to leadership such as, inclusion, communication across authority lines, relationship building, and they are often more attuned to the relationship between satisfaction and productivity (Wilson, 2004). These traits are highly compatible with good customer relations as well as better employee relations. Women see that forming lateral connections lead to power while men think of power as it relates to rank. Many of the traits women possess which are...
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