Leadership is critical to achieving positions of power. There are many styles of leadership, and for me, the most effective is transformational leadership. It was introduced by James McGregor Burns, in his book “Leadership”. He defined it as: “leaders and their followers raise one another to higher levels of morality and motivation.”
Mindtools defines an effective leader as a person who:
- Creates an inspiring vision of the future.
- Motivates and inspires people to engage with that vision.
- Manages delivery of the vision
- Coaches and builds a team, so that it is more effective at achieving the vision.
What these definitions do not take into account is that we live in a society where racism, sexism, economic inequality, misogyny and sexual harassment are part of daily life. We talked to hundreds of women, especially women of color, who are struggling to figure out how to move forward with their personal and professional lives. Our work environments are one of the biggest challenges they face.
We believe leadership qualities are the same for men and women. For example, here is a list from TaskQue blog:
- Honesty and integrity
- Inspire others
- Commitment and passion
- Good communicator
- Decision-making capabilities
- Delegation and empowerment
- Creativity and innovation
What is not the same are the leadership styles of men and women and how valued they are by organizations.
HeliosHR has a great comparison about the differences between women’s and men’s leadership styles:
Women leaders are task focused, transformational, prefer flat organizational structures, promote cooperation and collaboration, engage in indirect communication, give more latitude to employees in accomplishing goals, and like to mentor and train others.
Men leaders are transactional, prefer hierarchical structures, focus on performance, engage in direct communication, provide precise instructions to employees on what they want to be done, and like to create competition.
Our mission is to achieve a diverse and inclusive society that supports women’s leadership styles and women’s impact on society. Leadership development and support is a keystone of our work. Strong Women Action Network provides diversity and inclusion assessment and technical assistance to the government, corporations, academia, civic groups and non-profit organizations. We work with organizations to create policies, career ladders, performance standards, and strong teams that value both leadership styles. Together we can create environments that will help identify gender and racial barriers in your organization, prioritize resources, make a plan, access the resources your organization needs, develop and implement the diversity and inclusion goals of your organization or coalition and ensure the leadership styles of your women leaders is valued in your organization.
John C Maxwell defined leadership as: “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
Susan B. Anthony eloquently said: “The day will come when men will recognize woman as his peer, not only at the fireside but in councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development of the race.”
Come join us in creating organizations that value equally the leadership styles of men and women.