What is a leader? A leader is someone who inspires or manages others. Still, others define it as a combination of the two. However, regardless of how leadership is defined, are there truly substantial disparities in how men and women lead?
While there is now an increasing number of women and men who hold leadership positions, their styles of leadership are largely different.
Women leaders are believed to have a more optimistic outlook on life, experience less stress, and a higher degree of happiness than men. This is because they derive greater enjoyment from their goals than men do, they are more at ease taking leadership and hence more likely to complete the task at hand, and they are more contented with the work they perform. As a result, people are more likely to feel secure and contented with their lives.
“When it comes to the workplace, women bring tremendous executive social skills that increase team work, they work more egalitarian and focus on bringing out the best in their people. Women encourage a high level of self-awareness and are conscious of the health of their teams.”~ Angela Kambouris, 8 Ways Women Leaders Inspire The Next Generation
Across the spectrum, people have exhibited different views about the differences between male and female leaders. The opinions are interesting and I present them here.
“Briefly, women leaders feel to lead and manage a home while men feel to lead an army. This is why you will not find women admirals or generals or marshals but you will find women leading successfully in hospitals, schools and other institutions.”~ Spyros Gardikiotis, Musicologist – System Analyst
“My experience is that women in leadership roles actually have a leg up on men. I say this because the women bosses I have had show empathy and are far better at understanding people. They truly cared about their team and because of that the loyalty they achieved was incredible.”~Donald Feldman, A leader and student of all things related.
“Yes, this can happen, but usually only in the beginning.
When people are first placed into leadership positions, the staff are weary and on edge as to what’s going to happen, what’s going to change, or will layoffs occur, and so on.
Employees by nature will then judge a new leader by superficial means. As in their appearance, body language, how well they communicate, body image, race and of course gender.
This happens only because employees have nothing else to judge them on, and it is perfectly normal to “size someone up”.
Once this phase passes, then the true value of their leadership skills will emerge. Then no one will care about gender, age, appearance, etc. As long as the leader is effective and respected around the organization, nothing else matters.”~Eddie Molina, Combat-tested leadership enthusiast
I agree there are significant disparities between the sexes, but does it matter in terms of leadership? Let us examine some great women leaders from the book, Women Who Inspire. In this book, there are 20 female leaders across Asia who have inspired people and community around them. I’ve chosen the excerpts cited from Bhunyaras Panichsiri Regional Manager – Asia Pacific Luthi Machinery Co, Inc. and present her perceptive insights.
You’re a woman in a regional leadership role in the manufacturing industry, which is relatively male-dominated in Thailand. Have there been any challenges so far?
I do sometimes sense that some clients may have slightly less trust in me as a female, but I don’t let it bother me too much because I know it might just be my own perception. I have a strong history of delivering good sales performance and results, and I have confidence in my own abilities. However, it is a fact that I didn’t have a lot of experience in the industry when I started, and I was very transparent with my clients regarding this fact. When they had questions I couldn’t answer, I wasn’t shy in saying “I don’t know”. However, I always promised them that I would find out and give them a satisfactory solution – and I made sure to deliver on this. Over time, they came to like, trust, and respect me and my team, and a big part of that is due to my open, transparent, and communicative approach.
You are a leader to your team, a problem-solver for your clients, and a wife to your husband. How do you juggle all these roles?
I don’t believe true work-life balance exists. Instead, I embrace the fact that life happens, and some days are just going to be more about work, while other days are going to be more about my family. In fact, I try to integrate both where I can – I’ve brought my spouse to dine with my colleagues and boss quite a few times! I think that helps them all better understand me as a person, both in and outside of work, and see things from my perspective a little better. One thing I sometimes forget though is to switch off the ‘leader’ toggle when I’m home. The dynamics at home are obviously different from work, and I consult my husband when we make decisions instead of simply taking the lead on them. It’s a good balance, and it also helps me feel more supported in many ways.
I am impressed with her insights which demonstrate that she is a natural leader despite being faced with numerous obstacles at work, at home, and discrimination arising from her gender. She is concurrently juggling multiple tasks while Attempting valiantly to reorganise her team and turn the firm around. She embodies the quality of a leader who is unflinching in the face of adversity.
Men are frequently characterised as strong, authoritative, and self-assured when it comes to leadership. Women, on the other hand, are characterised as delicate, timid, and shy. This contrast is seen not only in popular culture, but also in business, where men are frequently regarded as more competent leaders than women.
Let’s discover how Kien Foh Loh got his start and accomplished his objectives in the field of leadership.
Kien Foh Lo– A Dedicated Front Runner Driven to Achieve Excellence
A successful business leader is efficient in making sound decisions and treats everyone equally, no matter the circumstance. He/she leads the team with enthusiasm and works hard to instill in them qualities such as dedication, perseverance, teamwork, integrity, and so on. They never give up in the face of adversity and introduce innovative solutions to every problem. Their sole focus is not only to achieve company goals, but also to ensure the development of each and every employee.
An Enthusiastic and Cooperative Leader
I will just use three words to describe myself. I am forward-looking, positive and pragmatic. I am a leader who always looks ahead with a positive attitude, to seek practical and workable solutions. I believe in staying consistent in behaving and working with others. I do what I preach or in other words, “Walk-the-Talk” is what I expect from myself and my team.”
His leadership abilities demonstrate how he ensured his colleagues’ satisfaction, which may be a challenge at times. This involves significant obligations that he has been managing to his fullest potential.
So is there really any significant difference between male and female leaders? Let us know your comments below.