Leadership is the engine that drives activity within organizations and nations. Given that millennials and Gen Z constitute a sizeable portion of the global workforce (21%), according to the International Labour Organization, they have expectations for a flexible workplace with a diverse constitution of senior management. A connected 21st century calls for a new breed of leaders. In the previous centuries, men dominated workplaces and gained leadership roles. However, now more people are open to having either men or women as a boss Moreover, a study by Harvard Business Review (2020) looked at how men and women fared in 19 leadership competencies. The results indicated that women were better than men in 13 of the 19 competencies. Let us look at some ways in which women are excelling as leaders through some of the researched leadership styles.
LeadersIn, a UK-based organization that studies leadership, has found through research that women leaders exhibit the transformational style the most. A transformational leader seeks to motivate people to achieve the bigger goals or vision of a company. They encourage self-development as they have full knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of their team members and know how they can inspire others to improve themselves. Such leaders exhibit a high preference for ethical behaviour in dealings with others and support a workplace based on integrity and honesty.
Task-oriented leadership is understood as a style that focuses on the tasks that need to be completed to achieve targets or goals. Tasks like planning, scheduling and delegating are given the most importance. According to LeadersIn, both men and women have the capacity for this style. However, women tend to be more democratic and inclusive while managing as a task-oriented leader. Men, on the other hand, are prone to be autocratic while doing so.
Women, like men, can be directive too when it comes to their leadership style. However, if they act authoritatively and come across as domineering, it usually works against them as some people are not used to seeing women this way. Because of this, they may have to resort to pleasing their subordinates in hopes that they will obey, developing a personality that is a mix of autocratic balanced with interpersonal, democratic and communal aspects. While a style that is modified to meet agreement could be effective still, it is hoped that women who know how to deliver in a directive manner do not have to adapt.
Servant leadership style is assumed to be present in what is considered to be “feminine” characteristics, such as being less authoritarian, being encouraging of others, foregoing one’s interests over combined interests, advocating the use of shared power and considering interpersonal skills as a way to influence others. This mindset realizes that going far in work requires the support of others.
Transpersonal is a fairly recent style of leadership, coined by the organization LeaderShape, that means going beyond the ego. It places types of intelligences in a hierarchy based on the ability to develop them: intellectual at the lowest rung, emotional in the middle and ethical at the highest level. Transpersonal leaders operate on well-respected ethical, emotional and cognitive principles. Such leaders believe in exemplifying ego-levelling behaviour and coaching others to help them improve themselves professionally. They also care about the moral aspects of their actions and decisions and try and instill the same sense within their organizations.
There has certainly been a radical change in the concept of a leader from someone who just gets the work done, using whatever method suits the situation, to someone who knows how to get the work done using the most positive, uplifting, inclusive and reformational method to do so.
Arslan Ahmed | Staff Writer