A great sense of timing
Are Women as Good as Men?
You bet! In fact, a recent and unique study conducted by psychologist and Institute for Policy Research Faculty Fellow Alice Eagly sought to find out, among other things, the answer to that question.
She conducted a Meta-Analysis (a statistical comparison of multiple studies resulting in combined findings) that compared use of the four major leadership styles (situational, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire) by men and women. “Women were found slightly more likely than men to have a transformational style, which is particularly effective in today’s work environment”, according to Eagly.
The study also found that men were slightly more likely than women to show a negative side of the transactional style – focusing on their subordinates’ failings. Men are also more likely to prefer a laissez-faire style. “These more ‘male-typical’ styles do not ordinarily make for better leaders”, she concluded.
Your Style Should Reflect
Your Corporate Culture And Your Personality Type
The Influence of Corporate Culture
If your organization is a mature, large one, its corporate culture is probably more structured and focused on the efficient execution of specific tasks. It is more hierarchal, with clearly defined titles and career paths – supervisor, then manager, then director, then Vice President, etc. The organization is likely to be set in its ways and comfortable with things the way they are. There is usually only one person who manages a department, group or team. In very large, bureaucratic organizations, the downside to management is that employees may be over-managed, bored and/or under-motivated because the culture breeds few real leaders because they are less highly valued.
If your organization is relatively new or a start-up, is small, agile and fast growing there is a strong likelihood it is structured around teams and projects so a leader is more likely to be the boss. The company is less hierarchal, more loosely structured, more willing to listen to new ideas and is more likely open to change. The downside to leadership is that employees may be too intensely led and under-managed, and all the enthusiasm can lead to unanticipated problems, overspending and missed deadlines because there are fewer real managers.
In all likelihood, your organization falls somewhere between these two extremes and will value both as part of a strong corporate culture.
The Influence of Personality Types
Which of the “Four A” personal styles did you most closely identify with? If you have an artistic or amiable type personality, leadership will probably come easily to you. If you have an analytical or authoritarian type personality, management will probably come more easily to you. But fear not! Both skill sets can be learned!
Which Style Should I Use?
A thorough answer to that question would put you on information overload, not to mention that it would probably put you to sleep! When I was transitioning from an individual contributor role, I really could have used a quick overview of the styles that are most widely used and considered most effective. There’s a lot of psycho babble we can skip for now too and get down to the basics so you can use them right away.
There are four distinct leadership styles and one that I recommend for you as a first-time woman leader or manager. There is nothing wrong with combining elements from a couple of styles to personalize one that best suits you (most of the time). And in certain situations, or when dealing with certain employee skill sets, you’ll need to combine or switch styles.
“Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way!”
Tough words! Only once have I experienced a situation in which all of us on a team whispered the above among ourselves way too many times. We’d been told that our new top dog was spectacular so our expectations were very high. But we discovered, to our chagrin, that there’s nothing worse than someone who can’t or won’t lead, consistently uses the wrong style, or manages people to death.
Unless perhaps it’s the following quote from Franklin Roosevelt: “There’s nothing worse for a leader than looking over your shoulder and finding that no one is following you”.
If the latter ever happens, it’s probably because you are:
- Uncertain about whether you should lead or manage
- Unsure which style to use, or
- Are unfamiliar with the mix of talent on your team
The Business Guru and Monk:
Kenny Moore on Leadership Development
Now that we've taken a "text-bookish" look at the subject, take a break and treat yourself to the slightly and delightfully iconoclastic views of Kenny Moore on its development.
Kenny Moore is co-author of The CEO and the Monk: One Company's Journey to Profit and Purpose which is rated as one of the top-ten best-selling books on Amazon.com. He is Corporate Ombudsman and Human Resources Director for an international energy company.
To set the table for his thoughts, let me share with you that Kenny's business practices are based on those of Louis Armstrong who said: "I am here in the service of happiness". Louis died a rich and beloved man. His voice still sings in the ears (and hearts) of millions. He recalls the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes also: "Most of us go to our graves with our music still inside us". Kenny's lifetime goal is to spend more of his time playing his music.
Words of Wisdom From Mary Kay
I doubt there is a woman among us who isn’t familiar with the success achieved by Mary Kay Ash and the cosmetics company she founded. According to her,
“There are two things people want more than sex and money – recognition and praise”.
She also says “We need people who:
- add value to the organization they lead
- work for the benefit of others and not just for their own personal gain
- inspire and motivate, rather than intimidate and manipulate
- who live with people to know their problems
- and follow a moral compass that points in the right direction regardless of the trends”.
That pretty much brings us full circle. Follow her advice and you'll be great!
Return to HOMEPAGE from LEADERSHIP
Proceed to TRUST