The Qualities that Distinguish Women Leaders

Women leaders are more assertive and persuasive, have a stronger need to get things done and are more willing to take risks than male leaders, according to a new study conducted by Caliper – a US based management consulting firm together with UK-based Aspire.

The firms assessed the potential of more than 2 million applicants and employees for over 25,000 companies around the world. Women leaders also were found to be more empathetic and flexible, as well as stronger in interpersonal skills than their male counterparts.

These are the four key qualities that distinguish women leaders:

  • They are more persuasive than their male counterparts: The strong interpersonal skills women possess enable them to read situations accurately and take in information from all sides. This willingness to see all sides of a situation enhances their persuasive abilities
  • Able to deal with rejection, set-backs and adversity with an ‘I’ll show you’ attitude: Women leaders will feel the sting of rejection and set-backs but will then muster their assertiveness and shake off any negative feeling
  • Inclusive, team-building leadership style of problem solving and decision making: The women leaders in the study were more interested in hearing all points of view and then making the best possible decision. The final decision did not necessarily have to be their initial point of view.
  • More likely to ignore rules and take risks: Women leaders are more likely to push back when they are overly bound by regulations and rules, engage in more risk taking and come up with innovative solutions.

“We’re looking at a different paradigm of leadership, and it plays naturally to the strengths of women” says Regina Sacha, Vice President of Human Resources for FedEx. “The tide has turned. The leadership skills that come naturally to women are now absolutely necessary for companies to continue to thrive. It certainly is the reverse of how it was when I first started out in the workplace. It seems like poetic justice.”

By Susan Croft, international women’s advocate and leader of Falconbury’s Women in Management & Leadership programme

Published on Apr 03, 2013 by Susan Croft