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What are some differences between Female and Male Leaders in the Workplace?

Studies about Leadership and Leadership Styles over the years have consistently shown that women and men are equally effective as Leaders. However, a significant number of differences were found when comparing women and men leaders on Leadership styles and Behaviours.


Gender differences were found in relations to the individual’s day to day behaviour - how they were likely to be perceived by others, how they react under pressure, how their strengths, when overused, can potentially derail their performance and the core values that motivate and drive their behaviour.



In terms of day to day behaviours;


Female Leaders

o Were more concerned about and reflected on their performance

o Were more comfortable following others’ lead

o Were more likely to provide opportunities for others to contribute to discussions

o Were more tactful when performance managing others

o Adopted a pragmatic approach to problem solving and decision making

o Were more likely to seek opportunities to learn and stay up to date


Male Leaders

o Were more likely to be resilient

o Exhibited more confidence and drive

o Sought more opportunities to socialise

o Adopted a direct communication style

o Were more strategic and focused on the bigger picture



When it came to Derailing Behaviour:


Female Leaders

o Were more likely to resist change and take chances

o Were slower to act or make a decision

o Were more hesitant to voice strong or contrary opinions


Male Leaders

o Sought to assert power and control by being overly confident

o Acted hastily, sometimes taking unnecessary risks

o Were more likely to ignore constructive feedback

o Were more indifferent to others’ feelings



Differences in Values and Drivers


Female Leaders

o Were more likely to be focused on building and maintaining relationships

o Encouraged collaboration

o Cared about the welfare and wellbeing of others

o Focused more on providing quality products

o Were more likely to emphasise fair treatment, civil behaviour and respect for others


Male Leaders

o Were more inclined to foster a competitive culture

o Were more results oriented

o Were more objective when making decisions

o Sought high visibility projects

o Desired to be seen as influential


It is important for organisations to acknowledge these differences and put in place developmental opportunities for both Female and Male Leaders so that they get the best performance out of both genders.



General areas for Development;


Female Leaders

· Develop their ability to take more initiative especially when under pressure

· Empower them to seek new opportunities and confidently voice their opinion

· Develop their ability to think more strategically


Male Leaders

· Develop their communication skills especially, to allow others to voice their opinion

· Develop their ability to suspend judgement and take on constructive feedback

· Help them show more openness to different perspectives.


For more information on how to identify personality traits across your team - and how to support each individual, please click here.