Abstract Why women make equal or better leaders than men. Just the thought that women make equal or better leaders than men stirs an immediate controversy. Both men and women know they will offend or step on many toes, especially those men who believe that it’s a man’s world. Everything considered equal, consider the thought. Although there are not any concrete studies on domestic leadership, there are examples throughout history that suggest, at least without her support, his career may not have been successful.
This writing looks at the concepts of gender differences in learning styles, women in business and how the general public views female corporate executives. Why Women Make Equal or Better Leaders than Men This paper will present a greater than convincing argument on how and why a woman would be just as good a leader as a man. In short, the battle is not about who is better, but about the preference on how the job gets done and by whom. It may give some insight on areas where a woman may be better. Women are naturally born leaders as depicted when you look at the family dynamic.
In the world of business the most important thing is the bottom line; money or profit margins rule the roost in today’s society. It will give examples of times where women have attained success within the corporate world. To their credit they have exceeded baseline standards. Some examples of successful women throughout history you may identify with or recognize just by their names. In everything, there are obstacles to endure and sacrifices made before success is achieved. At the end of the day when all is said and done, and the reader considers the information provided, they should be left with this profound thought. Why not? The only difference in having a woman as a leader is that she may approach things from a different perspective. If the company’s growth increases, why not give her a chance. From the beginning of the fetus evolution it seems that differences between genders start with the sequencing of the brain. “The most profound difference between girls and boys is not the brain structure per se, but rather in the sequence development of various brain regions. A girl’s brain develops in a different sequence and tempo. (Sax, 2009) This means that different parts of the brain mature in a different order and speed. For example a woman’s brain matures between the ages of 21- 22 years whereas a man’s brain matures at the age of 30 years, which is a difference of 9 years. Although studies suggest and or prove differences in boys and girls brain sequencing, it diminishes as they become young adults. That’s not the only trait that enables the woman to hold her own. (Sax, 2009) Even though brain development is different; how would brain development affect learning style? There are many different definitions for learning style.
For the purpose of this paper Learning Style is defined as an individual’s way of processing their feelings, information, and behavior in learning situations. Differences in learning styles come in the form of physiological and mental such as a person’s ability to hear. (Algoe, 1979) Girls hear approximately four times better than boys. The first study was accomplished approximately 40 years ago by psychologist John F. Corso. According to the study, the ability to hear was a major contributor to boys and girls development. His study was also used as the basis for best practices concerned in teaching girls versus boys.
For example, it proved that in situations where a female teacher spoke to her class in a normal tone of voice she generally lost the attention of the boys toward the rear of the classroom in part because of their lack of hearing. Given the same situation with a male teacher, girls sitting in the front of the classroom would perceive the teacher as yelling at her. (Algoe, 1979) Today’s public school systems are engendered towards traditional education practices that are abstract. These processes are best suited for males. Whereas females felt they were being talked at and their needs not addressed.
Males learn best by thinking and watching. Females learn by practical applications and doing. “Education psychologists and researchers found that girls tend to have higher education standards than boys. Girls are critical of their own performance and look to find ways to please adults or person(s) of authority. Conversely, for boys unless the item or material interests them they would be less interested. ” Education priorities are generally dictated by society and family norms. There is a stark contrast in what it takes to motivate boys and girls to learn. Context enhances learning for girls…while “confrontation works well for boys. ” (Algoe, 1979) Merriam Webster’s dictionary definition of context is the condition or environment in which something exists or occurs. (Algoe, 1979) Based on learning styles and environment young ladies are more likely to go to college than young men. In today’s society, six out ten women receive college degrees. In 2009 the number of women CEO’s totaled 13. Michael Gurian and Barbara Annis offered their viewpoint from several years of experience in the business world. Men and women CEOs tend to handle situations, i. . , meetings, mission, goals, profit margins, differently. For example, while in boards meetings men are more likely to become pre-occupied with other things that they are not actively participating in since their brains are designed to enter a rest state easier than women. In that same meeting women would tend to veer off topic before getting back to the subject matter. This also highlights a woman’s ability to be a multi-tasker. Several groups of business leaders reflected that upon learning about brain differences between men and women, workplace stressors subsided and productivity increased. Kirdahy, 2008) The United States Department of Labor statistics report that women represent nearly 50% of the total labor force. (Brandweek, 2006) Many companies are committed to increasing opportunities for women in the workplace. A study was conducted, covering the period of 1996-2000, orchestrated in 2004 that included 353 of Fortune 500 companies that sustained their standing four out of five years and had the highest representation of women in top management. Results from the study found that their Return on Equity was 35. % as well as Total Return to Shareholders of 34% was higher than those with lower representation of women in top management. (Lotery, 2006) In 2005, women in the workplace held just 16. 4% of corporate officer positions i. e. , Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer. (Brandweek, 2006) In 2006, only 10 Fortune 500 companies listed women as Chief Executive Officers and of those companies none were in the top 100. Pepperdine University has been tracking the performance of Fortune 500 companies with strong records of promoting women to the board room for several years.
The first comparison was made in 2001 using data from 200 of the Fortune 500 companies from 1980 to 2007. The results reflected that companies that have women in top executive positions outperformed industry medians by 34 percent. In 2008, the selection criteria changed to selecting only the 100 Most Desirable Masters of Business Administration (MBA) Employers for women. (Adler, 2009) Women are making small strides into a male dominated corporate world. The cooperate world seems to think that women lack the qualities and characteristics generally ascribed to decision making abilities. Kevin Clancy and Peter Kreig’s book Counterintuitive Marketing: Achieve Great Results using Common Sense (Free Press) backed by a 1998 Capernicus study focuses on “testosterone decision making. ” (Brandweek, 2006) Women as well as men attribute the testosterone decision making style to senior male marketing executives. What they fail to realize is that a woman’s ability to make decisions is in their DNA because of the role they play in the family unit. Women wear many hats and are rarely appreciated for what they do. Women are better listeners.
They favor the collaborative approach and desire to please and or influence but not command their peers. Not satisfied with the results originally used, Copernicus in concert with Brandweek Magazine set out to update Copernicus’ 1998 findings in 2006. The updated findings showed that 28% men are less likely to be sensitive and caring, 47% less likely to seek advice from others before making big decisions and 44% building a consensus, whereas for women the findings are 88%, 93 %, and 91% respectively. The biggest difference between women and men is style.
Men are autocratic in their decision making style. This process is dependent on quick decisions, relying on intuition, short term results, little research, and forces views on subordinates. Women are thoughtful, collaborative, . concerned with long term effects and cautious. (Brandweek, 2006) Clearly studies have shown that organizations that have women in top management positions have significantly higher rates of return than companies without. There are several thousand years’ worth of historical records with women as leaders.
Examples of successful women: Queen Elizabeth of England from 1533-1603, Catherine the Great of Russia from1762-1796, and Margret Thatcher, Prime Minister of England from1979-1990; rose to power and had great success. Women who ruled monarchies dealt only with an elite clientele whereas today’s woman has to navigate through public prejudices. (Kristof, 2008) What is the problem pertaining to why women are not reaching the boardroom faster? Are there any unseen barriers or obstacles that prevent promotion to higher levels of management?
Yes, there are barriers to get to anything that is meant to be good. These unseen barriers and or obstacles are better known as the “glass ceiling”. Other terms used are “glass wall” or “glass cliff. ” These barriers when detected seem to affect everyone not just women regardless of qualification for a particular item or position. Dispatched cleverly by supervision or management, they play up certain traits in the candidate they want to promote while downplaying the other more qualified individuals strengths.
When challenged, management would highlight the best disqualifying answer available to not break any Equal Employment Opportunity laws. Although the “Glass Ceiling” seems to be firmly in place, women have turned their focus to entrepreneurial aspirations. Between 1997 and 2004, women owned organizations that had a significant number of employees grew by 28%. (Lotery, 2006) These numbers reflect that women are not only outstanding business leaders but they are reliable and profitable. “Women make 80% of product purchasing decisions and represent 54% of voters that turned up at the polls in the last presidential election. Lotery, 2006) More women are entering into the workforce along with increases in the diversity of ethnic makeup of organizations. This seems to be caused by experiences and education qualifying them for leadership positions. Regardless of how women are perceived, researchers strongly suggest that women and men are equally effective as leaders across many different situations’. Though some of the questions still remain; is one gender built to be a better leader? Not better, just different in process and approach. “It is not about the self, the individual man or woman gaining strength.
It is about them valuing the areas where they are strong. Then it is about them creating partnerships between men and women so that they gain the assets of both sexes. ” (Kirdahy, 2008) Diversity within organizational leadership has become most valuable. Women lead the way. Many women use the transformational leadership style. There is evidence that women are more skilled at this tool than men. Transformational Leadership offers empowerment of their followers to think creatively and act responsibly on their own. “As long as traditional perspectives of leadership center on asculine-oriented concepts of authoritarian and task-oriented behavior…recognized as practicable leadership behavior. (—-, 2009) Women will be limited in their scope of leadership. What does the general public think? People equate “leader” to “male” which transcends many cultural differences. People are generally more receptive to guidance from men vice women due a community’s social structure dominated by men. (Lips, 2009) “In an experiment called the Goldberg Paradigm people were asked to evaluate a speech given by a male and a female. The experiment was conducted worldwide.
The same speech was given with the outcome rated higher when given by the male. “A woman can be perceived as likeable or competent but not both. ” (Kristof, 2008) Women that dare to promote their own ambitions risk turning people off. Women are especially turned-off or offended by this practice. It is taken by other women as they come-off as braggarts. (Kristof, 2008) The public believes that there are eight traits that a good leader must emulate. They are: honesty, intelligence, hardworking, decisiveness, ambitiousness, compassionate, outgoing and creative.
When it comes to honesty, intelligence and a handful of other character traits they value highly in leaders, the public rates women superior to men. Actually the only trait that men proved to be overwhelmingly better is decisiveness by an 11% advantage. Honesty is the most important of the leadership trait. The second more important trait is intelligence, 38% of the people surveyed refer to women as superior. In addition to the survey also asked the public another questions as to whom they preferred men or women to handle a broad spectrum of policy matters and performance changes as public officials.
The results were that as far as social policy women fared better. Men held the better perception on issues concerned with safety and security. (—-, 2008) With the perception of a woman’s place in society and the incompatibility between femininity, soft, and that of leadership, strong, women are asked to soften their stance to gain approval from people. With that said though, women today still have to work twice as hard for their successes to accomplish the same milestones as men. Changes in social structure; change reactions to differences in leadership.
As for women and job performance, public opinion is…Women rule! (Lips, 2009) In conclusion, it is not that these numbers aside say that women work as hard as or maybe harder than men in today’s society to gain the same milestones. History has proven that women are capable especially in social everyday life. Rather consider what women bring when at the table, a fresh look or new perspective. Studies have proven that with a good mix of male and female leaders with different attitudes regarding risk etc…these companies will outperform their counter parts with single gender leadership.
So as changes in today’s business landscape and society changes, expect to see changes in business leadership. Bibliography —-. (2008, August 25). Retrieved April 22, 2011, from http://www. pewresearch. org/pubs/932/men-or-women-whos-the-better-leader —-. (2009, April 22). Retrieved April 22, 2011, from http://ivythesis. typepad. com/term_paper_topics/2009/04/gender-differences-who-makes-a-better-leader-men-vs-women. html Adler, R. D. (2009, February 27). Retrieved April 22, 2011, from http://www. miller-mccune. com/business-economics/profilt-thy-name-is-woman-3920 Algoe, S. P. (1979).
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Retrieved April 22, 2011, from http://www. nytimes. com/2008/02/10/10kristof. html Lips, H. (2009, April 02). Retrieved April 22, 2011, from http://www. womensmedia. com/lead/88-women-and-leadership-dictate-balancing-act. html Lotery, F. &. (2006, June 14). Retrieved April 22, 2011, from http://womeninbusiness. typepad. com/womeninbusiness/2006/06/gaining_a_seat_. html Sax, L. M. (2009, April 22). Retrieved April 22, 2011, from http://www. education. com/reference/article/Ref_Boys_Girls ———————– EN1300-4/ Why Women Make Equal or Better Leaders than Men Delta Butler St Louis University