Leadership: Qualities that Distinguish Women

Published 19 Apr 2017

The article describes the qualities of women leaders. The author, Ellen Heffes, interviewed several successful women leaders and reported the results of the study conducted by Caliper on the qualities that distinguish female leaders, specifically focusing on the gender difference in personality quality and motivational factors. The results of the study show that, in comparison to male leaders, women leaders are “more persuasive, have a stronger need to get things done, and are more willing to take risks.” An inclusive, consensus building, and collaborative leadership style is crafted when women leaders merge these qualities with their “openness, flexibility, empathy, and strong interpersonal skills.”

This provides the evidence that women have created a new leadership style characterized by their distinct personality and motivational strengths. The core components of this new style of leadership include the following: willingness to take risks; ability to motivate others and the willingness to stand up for them; knowing how to frequently win and gracefully lose; and learning from one’s mistakes by coming back to win. This new leadership style unique to women leaders involves a distinct persuasive style, which is enhanced by strong people skills that enable women leaders to accurately assess a situation and obtain relevant information. Their sincerity in empathizing with others that allows them to assess the audience’s perspective first also contributes to their distinct, engaging style of persuasion.

Rather than forcing their own point of view as males do, which they usually use as their method of persuasion, the women leaders welcome the thoughts of the other party before stating their own. The women leaders also possess a unique approach in handling disappointment, rejection, or other situations that do not work for them through rebounding and learning from setbacks. They pain from their experience may make them become a bit self-critical and may cause them to dwell on it. However, the women leaders can muster their assertiveness to learn from their experience and work on their mistakes. A team-building leadership style is also unique to women. Women leaders display a genuine interest in listening to all points of view. They listen not to hear an answer but to learn, reflect, and implement a plan that incorporates the best of the ideas. Women leaders are more willing to take risks when they are overly bound by rules. To get things done, they will run the risk of making mistakes and learn from them.

The new leadership style created by women has encouraged me to work hard in developing the aspects of my personality that are significant in becoming a leader. Specifically, I would like to work on my listening skills so that I would be able to look into the perspective of others first and learn from it. I was also inspired by how the women leaders get back on track after experiencing the pain of losing and rejection. Making mistakes has always been a part of life. Rather than being afraid of doing something wrong, I should strive to do what it takes to make things right.

Work Cited

  • Heffes, Ellen M. “Leadership: Qualities that Distinguish Women.” Financial Executive (2005).
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