The power of a woman is a glorious thing. Women are producers, creators, nurturers, and innovators. As leaders, they inspire change and transformation for a better world.
Although gender has nothing to do with determining an incredible leader, men and women have similar characteristics but mostly show different styles in leadership.
Women leaders have exhibited certain qualities that contribute to them being well-rounded and effective in their roles.
Maya Angelou, Indira Gandhi, Angela Merkel, Margaret Thatcher, and Malala Yousafzai are just some icons in the history of women leaders that possess these winning qualities.
So what makes a female leader great? What are the benefits of female leadership? And most importantly, what are the characteristics of a female leader that both genders should aim to emulate?
1. Women Excel at Multitasking
The modern woman wears many hats. She can be a career woman, an entrepreneur, a doctor, a lawyer, a mother, a sister, a friend, and a teacher. She is very efficient in juggling multiple tasks and responsibilities.
A study reports that women are overall better at doing multiple things at once compared to men who are good at focusing on single tasks at a time.
Women today are able to work more in their full-time jobs, and on top of that, they’re still doing most of the housework. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that on average, 19% of men reported doing household chores like cooking, laundry, and other housework, compared to women with 49%.
The ability to do multiple things effectively enables them to know exactly what to do in times where quick decisions and responses to different task issues are needed.
Childbirth is a testament to women’s pain tolerance and resilience. Though a lot of women do enjoy the better things in life, not to mention self-care, women leaders possess resilience that enables them to maneuver through tough situations with ease.
Women leaders are not afraid to get their hands dirty and take on the world even when the odds are against them or society might frown upon them. Their ability to look at the bigger picture, piece together complex puzzles, and resilience, make women leaders a force to be reckoned with.
3. Show Empathy
Female leaders are more likely to be supportive and empathetic to the team and the people around them. No definite study states that a particular gender has higher emotional intelligence than the other. But men and women do differ in how they approach interpersonal relationships, self-regard, and empathy; women tend to score higher in empathy than men.
We live in a society where boys and girls are raised differently. Men are generally taught to be competitive at an early age. Society looks up to men who are dominant, assertive, masculine, and competitive. Meanwhile, girls are reared to be more conscientious, understanding, nurturing, and gentle. They are more open to showing their emotions compared to men.
An effective leader has all those characteristics. They have to be confident, assertive, competitive while being caring and empathetic towards others.
4. Great Listeners
Female leaders tend to value a collaborative environment more than most male leaders do. They are effective communicators, as communication is said to be one of a woman’s strongest skills. Just take a look at the #1 talk show host in America, Oprah Winfrey.
In the workplace, you’ll witness female leaders being active listeners and open to feedback. This promotes an open communication stream that enhances clarity and understanding. You’ll notice that the majority of female leaders have a democratic style of leadership where you’ll witness a lot of participation from the group.
5. Transformational Leaders
Transformational leaders are those who inspire change in people. They are filled with energy, ideas and visions.
When you say transformational leadership, you’re looking at someone who’s charismatic, visionary, strong, inclusive and inspiring.
If you look at great women in history, like England’s Queen Victoria, Britain’s Margaret Thatcher, and America’s Maya Angelou, you’ll see that they possess these characteristics.
Those transformational characteristics carried over to notable female leaders of today such as Germany’s Angela Merkel, hailed as a symbol of Germany’s modern economy. We also have Youtube’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, who helped Google buy the biggest video-sharing site in the world, taking it to the next level with social media.
Female leaders tend to be more nurturing than male leaders and this inspires transformation. From inspiring the team, schooling employees, to trying more experimental and unorthodox ideas and solutions.
Leading Against All Odds
Gender doesn’t have anything to do with being a good leader. There are unique characteristics each gender possesses that can help every individual lead effectively.
However, women have proven their power and resilience time and time again. The roles of women in society have changed and developed through history. These qualities and characteristics have allowed women to flourish and helped the world advance.
These characteristics exist in all of us. Develop them to inspire and empower other people with your leadership.