Great article on women and leadership (“Redefining Leadership,” page 30, October 2001). As a behavioral psychologist by training, let me share my top-10 list of why women (may) make better leaders:
Women are more willing to take risks and possibly fail. Men are more conservative.
Women are more willing to try new things, while men prefer the “same old, same old” because “we've always done it this way.”
Women are more willing to try to understand new technology. Men prefer to delegate the technological tasks to the organization's computer guru.
Women are more willing to say “I don't know, but I'll find out” and “I can't, but I'm willing to learn” than men.
Women often view continuing education as a way to “sharpen their saw” while men tend to say, “Been there, done that.”
Women tend to be more flexible.
Women are more likely to invest the time and effort to grow their employees than men.
Women are more willing tobecause they want to; they believe in the good of the cause. Men tend to feel they have to volunteer because it's expected of them.
Women tend to be better listeners and are more likely to develop and build relationships than men.
Women tend to get their point across through assertiveness while men often use aggressiveness.
Before you men reading this list become overly defensive, ask yourself if one gender makes a better leader than the other. I don't know. However, women have learned a great deal about leadership from men, who, in turn, have much to learn from women.
Dr. Elliott B. Jaffa