In many sections of the society, men are the dominant occupants of the plum positions of leadership. There is a very huge gap between men and women when it comes to leadership functions in the society. This gap in leadership that exists between the men and women is especially conspicuous in the field of business. The various sectors of business have very few females serving as directors to boards as well as corporate executives. However, with the increase in enlightenment and civilization of the world, many women have started rising up for leadership positions. This trend of an increased number of women taking leadership positions in the society has created an opportunity for assessing the differences between the leadership performance of men and women. The main objective of this assessment paper is to establish whether performance in leadership roles is related to the gender of a given person.
Gender differences in leadership
According to research done by various psychologists, there are small but significant differences in the perception of leadership performance for men and women. The variables of performance in leadership that researchers focus on include the effectiveness of the leader when in a given position and the styles of leading. Effectiveness in the leadership role, in this case, implies being able to deliver good results and attaining the set goals and objectives of the organization (Antonakis & House, 2013). This effectiveness is the main scale that is used in determining the value of a given leader. For instance, a leader who is able to achieve high profitability and growth in the revenues of a company is said to be quite effective. On the other hand, the style of leading also determines the performance of a leader in the organization. There are specific styles of leadership, which are more effective than others. Research has found out that the styles of leadership used by most women are different from the ones men like.
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It must be noted that women usually adopt the participative styles of leadership. Moreover, most female leaders are more transformational than men. It has been established through research that a lot of male leaders like using the directive, transactional and authoritative leadership styles (Matsa & Miller, 2013). Furthermore, it must be noted that most women in the management positions have a tendency of demonstrating the significance of good and effective communication (Tate & Yang, 2015). Women also like integrating the values of cooperation, affiliation and nurturing the talents others within the organization, unlike a lot of male leaders. But male leaders focus much on the set goals and objectives of the organization. They put in a lot of efforts in order to ensure they achieve these goals and objectives. Additionally, most male leaders are always task-oriented and hard-working. They keep attention on the processes of tasks more than female leaders. Women tend to be lazy while on duty and cannot take on heavy tasks. The other difference is the fact that most male leaders are risk-takers while a lot of the female managers are risk-averse. Women naturally fear huge risks hence tend to avoid entering business deals that pose huge risks for the company. However, it must be noted that risk is a determinant of the level of returns one can get from an investment. Projects that are less risky have very minimal returns in the world of business. There tends to be a very huge trade-off between the amount risk taken in a specific project and the level of returns earned (Schuh et al., 2014). Therefore, who are mostly risk-takers, reap huge returns from the highly risky investment projects if things go well. Male leaders are more strategic than the female ones. Male leaders are creative and always develop strategies meant to increase sales and boost the competitiveness of the organization in the industry. Female leaders fear stiff competition hence cannot thrive, where there is stiff competition. Women leaders also lack the requisite courage to face huge business problems in the industry.
The aforementioned factors lead to the huge difference between the performance of male and female leaders in the world of business. It is important to observe that results from a leader who is authoritative are expected to be different from one who applies Laissez-faire style of leading. The reason for the difference in the results of the two scenarios is that the leadership style applied has a very huge impact on the input of the workers. Employees would be highly motivated when they work with a leader who applies the Laissez-faire style of leading since they have the chance of creating ideas and influencing the organizational decisions. Moreover, there is a high level of innovation in such a working environment (Gupta, Goktan & Gunay, 2014). Moreover, the results from a leader who is resilient and strong in the face of stiff competition and many organization crises are significantly different from those of a person who fears such situations. A highly strategic leader gives the organization results that are different from that one who does not strategize well (Eagly, 2013). Therefore, there is a significant difference between the leadership performance of men and women. The effectiveness of men and women in leadership roles differs significantly because of the varied styles and values they apply in their leading functions.
It must be accepted that this idea of difference between the leadership performance as well as effectiveness of men and women has been opposed by some other researchers. Moreover, people in the public do not see any significant difference between the leadership effectiveness of men and women. To the public, there is very little distinction between the leadership traits of women and men. Some argue that when it comes to the issue of innovativeness and high intelligence, both female and male leaders display these qualities equally (Ferreira & Gyourko, 2014). The argument, in this case, is that the strengths and weaknesses of women in leadership are equally shared by the men. Some have claimed lack of evidence to prove the difference in leadership performance between men and women. Anderson and Hanson only found differences in the styles of making decisions, but there was no link of it to variation in the leadership effectiveness between men and women (Zheng, 2015). Therefore, this is a topic that is open for debate. Based on the existing research evidence, this essay argues that the leadership performance difference, which exists between men and women, is quite significant.
Women as leaders
Although women continue to assume increased leadership positions and roles in the business organizations today than it was before, the idea of a woman as a leader is still quite foreign to many people. Many people are yet to be accustomed to reality of women taking up leadership positions. Interestingly, among those who are surprised when they see a female leader are the women themselves. According to a report by the European Commission in 2012, women only had 13.7% of the board seats within the EU. Women have also missed out in national political seats. For instance, there are very few female presidents across the world. It is vital to acknowledge the fact that changes in perceptions of people are always difficult to achieve even when things change. In this case, the traditional norms of gender and leadership are firmly entrenched in the minds of people. It is the reason leaders have for a long time just been men.
In the past, the leadership roles of women were limited to only the female organizations. In some instances, men were the top leaders of these women organizations. There was a general feeling that only men could lead effectively. Women were largely thought not to possess the requisite qualities of effective leadership. The fact that most females did have opportunities to get education through learning must also be considered as the reason they were not allowed to lead people.
To increase the number of women in leadership roles, the society had to start relying on the affirmative action with legal requirements demanding a given number of females be put in positions of leading. This issue of affirmative action is still the trend today. However, a number of women have come out in a very strong manner to fight for their space in leadership against men. They are now involved in the elective leadership positions (Cook & Glass, 2014). Recently, the United States of America witnessed the first ever female presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, winning the Democratic Party ticket and beating Donald Trump in terms of the majority votes during the main election. This example proves women have really come out and now the society is beginning to give them chance for occupying leadership positions.
There is a significant difference in terms of leadership effectiveness between men and women. The varied leadership styles and values of women and men make them to have different effectiveness in leading organizations. While most women are democratic and value cooperation in the leadership of organizations, men like being directive, authoritative and dictators over their followers. All these leadership styles have varied results in terms of organizational performance. Therefore, this paper concludes that there is a very significant relationship between leadership effectiveness and gender.
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