In Turbulent Times Women May Prove to Be Better Leaders Than Men
During turbulent times, organizations spend a great deal of effort on rescue and recovery work. This may include fiscal fitness programs to rein in costs, employee performance is scrutinized to select candidates for terminations, suppliers are squeezed to reduce prices and employee benefits are slashed. However, organizations rarely look at the gender, style and effectiveness of management during these times. Evidence suggests that women may be better than their male counterparts in improving employee morale, motivation and performance – and these are crucial factors that can enhance chances of organizations survival in turbulent times. Organizations can better deal with turbulent times if leadership shows that it cares and good information is provided without falsely raising hopes. So, too, it helps if clear lines of communication are established and employees are engaged in the recovery plan. Employees know their business intimately, especially those in the front line, and they can generate great ideas to win back customers, reduce costs, improve products or streamline processes. So leaders should adopt a management style that is engaging, inclusive and collaborative, and where individuals and groups can make decisions. This participative or ‘laissez faire’ style works well in an era that makes wide use of the internet, where many people can contribute, even if they are located on the other side of the world. Who is best at a participative management style? Contemporary research indicates that women may be more suited to this style than men. Female managers think and operate differently. In an interview with CNN Money, Catherine Kaputa, author of The Female Brand: Using the Female Mindset to Succeed in Business, said, “In general, women are most comfortable with a management style that is more collaborative and less concerned with rigid hierarchy and top-down directives. As it happens, that...
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