Female vs. Male Leaders at Work: What are Their Pros and Cons? 

January 28, 202110:52 am13626 views
Female vs. Male Leaders at Work: What are Their Pros and Cons? 
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A gender gap between male and female leadership in a working environment seems to be one of the controversial topics garnering a lot of attention from the HR fraternity across industries. At some point, people still hold onto a traditional viewpoint that men are born to be leaders and women are supposed to behave like subordinates who merely support their effective functioning, and they in no instance should take over men’s authority. 

In a survey conducted by Pew Research Center, respondents believed there was only a slight difference between men and women when it comes to leadership approaches. 43 percent of respondents said men and women are basically similar; while more than half of respondents (57 percent) said they are basically different. 

In politics, Pew research found no gap between male and female political leaders on key leadership qualities. And in business, men have a slight edge over women (22 percent said men are better, 14 percent said women). On risk-taking, men are seen as stronger by a substantial margin in both politics and business among those who see a gender difference. Roughly 4 in 10 adults in Pew survey said men are more willing to take risks (41 percent), while about 1 in 10 said women are better at this (8 percent). The overall findings indicate that men are seen to be better-aspired leaders than women although women leaders are seen to be able to create safer and more respectful workplace environments. 

As time changes, technology advancement and higher quality of information exchange nowadays drives a different perspective towards a leader’s general outlook and bridging gender gaps. Male and female do share the same starting point towards pursuing a career, including the career path to reach the pinnacles of success in a company.

Men are different from women with regards to their styles of working, leadership and of course, physical attributes. But, both of them do possess equal rights to pursue education, express their opinions, thoughts and ideas, scaling up notch-higher to achieve their dreams and be successful in their own right.

Men bosses are not always better than women, and the gender gaps should not be the predetermining factor to value someone’s worth, efficiency and contribution at work. There are many other performance indicators without gender bias that predominantly continue to persist even in these technologically advanced times, wherein women in boardrooms in Asia is significantly lower than men.

See also: What Should Leaders Do before Making Decision?

As an HR manager, you cannot completely support a male or female leader and support gender-biased viewpoints. It is always worth to evaluate and understand the pros and cons of both sides, female leaders and male leaders:

Female Leadership:

Pros
  • Women are commonly skilled at multitasking and managing the household fronts. A female boss can prioritise issues and manage situations at work with the same dedication as at home.
  • Female bosses are generally considered to be more friendly, empathetic and better communicators, wrote Louann Brizendine in her book The Female Brain. They can build effective employee relationships with colleagues, subordinates and even the top management. Female leaders are commonly good listeners and effective communicators so they can help resolve employee’s personal concerns with understanding and empathy regardless gender, said Brizendine.
  • Women leaders understand and acknowledge their star performers’ efforts. They notice smart workers and reward them accordingly. You do not need to sneak your way, to butter up your bosses to get noticed, heard or feel valued for your contributions.
Cons:
  • There have been discussions about whether or not women’s behaviour in the workplace is affected by hormonal changes. Actually, both men and women have equal hormonal challenges that sometimes impact their decision-making skills and attitudes towards colleagues and subordinates at work. Both can be tired, burnt out, frustrated and stressed. However, yes – a study found that women tend to allow hormonal problems to reflect in their moods and behaviours at work.
  • Women face great hurdles to climb up the career ladders and they might pull other competitive women down to retain the topmost secured position in a job.
  • Women bosses do depict tendencies of being jealous and backbiting over time.

Male leadership: 

Pros 
  • Male leaders are generally straight to the point. They tend to get to the point quicker than females. 
  • Males tend to focus on the current task and to directly coordinate perception and action better than their female counterparts. Study showed that male leaders are more inclined towards action than analysis as they have better neural connectivity within one hemisphere and between frontal and back areas.
  • When it comes to goals and transactional approach, males see the performance of their team as a sequence of independent transactions, each one of which must be either disinclined or rewarded. This trait, if executed wisely, can improve motivation and engagement of the team.
  • Men value clarity associated with a strong hierarchical structure because they believe that such an approach ensures effective delegation of responsibilities and tasks.
Cons
  • When a plan goes wrong, male leaders tend to blame others for the mistakes instead of finding the error and taking responsibility to correct it. They are likely to find somebody else to blame for the mistake made or to explain the failure as a result of bad luck. 
  • Male leaders are usually not engaged with their teams, considering themselves dominant figures and staying apart from others. 
  • Male leaders are more likely to stick to their own vision or how the problem should be solved. This trait can lessen the collaboration between teams as leaders who do not listen to other’s opinions are more likely to fail in their approach.

Many studies have shown that it is much more difficult for a woman to become a leader. Gender stereotypes also portray women as less reliable and more emotional managers, while real-life examples might prove the opposite. Companies that have more female leaders become more successful due to their transformational leadership styles. There is no definitive answer if to consider female leaders are better or worse than male leaders. However, being able to identify the pros and cons will help you stay gender-biased and choose the best leader aligned to meet your business vision.

All in all, regardless of the gender of leaders in a company, both male and female can develop qualities and skills that will make them transformational or transactional leaders, thus managing and leading companies better towards success. 

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