Discussing Women and Leadership,
Team Based Decision Making
Most women leaders posses greater ability to motivate and inspire followers in order to achieve optimal goals three basics would be taken into account motivation, reward, and commitment. It is reasonable to believe that strong commitment to work is likely to result in conscientious and self-directed application to do the job, regular attendance, nominal supervision and a high level of effort. 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 deep-rooted. 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 women’s colleges were almost always men (Bass, 1981). From this experience 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 compares with maleness is deeply rooted in both our thinking and language. Leaders are of ten described with adjectives such as “competitive,” “aggressive,” or “dominant,” which are typically associated with masculinity. A female leader is frequently regarded as an abnormality and “women who become leaders are often offered the presumed praise of being described as being like men” (Hearn & Parkin, 1986-87). For instance, Margaret Thatcher was often described as the “best man” in Great Britain. Despite the societal mandates used to increase the number of women in leadership positions, the traditional stereotypes remain. These stereotypes still use a powerful influence and are at least partially to blame both for women’s difficulty in attaining leadership positions and for society’s struggle to accept them. Because women do not fit the stereotypical leader mold, those who want to be leaders usually need to be extremely well qualified, have proven records of accomplishments, and be over prepared for their positions. Once these positions are attained, women are often expected to “behave just like their male counterparts rather than enhancing their roles with the new and varied talents and fresh perspectives they might bring” (Shavlik & Touchton, 1988). The female sex role stereotype labels women as less competent and warmer emotionally than men, but the stereotype of the effective manager matches the manly stereotype of competence, toughness, and lacking in warmth (Bass, 1981). Recent research (Powell & Butterfield, 1989) shows that the “good manager” is still described as masculine despite the growing number of women managers. This overlap between “good manager” and typical male has been found in other studies. Again, the inference is that “maleness” equates with leadership and “femaleness” does not. Powell and Butterfield warn of the possible hazardous effects on one’s career of deviating from the dominant management style in an organization. Complicating matters is the fact that subordinates respond differently to the same behavior depending on whether it is displayed by a male or female leader (Russell et al., 1988). A review article in Psychological Bulletin (Eagly & Johnson, 1990) provides the most recent comprehensive look at the differences in leadership styles of males and females. The authors present a meta- analysis of a large amount of the research that has been done on the topic. In their literature review and background section, Eagly and Johnson echo many of the same themes reported earlier. In general, they found that authors...