Surprise: women are better suited at leadership than men based on 5 personality traits which can be measured for effective leaderships according to recent research carried out at the BI Norwegian Business School by Professor Øyvind L. Martinsen and Professor Lars Glasø.
The study surveyed more than 2,900 managers to ascertain leadership personality traits. Women scored higher in:
- Initiative and clear communication;
- Openness and ability to innovate;
- Sociability and supportiveness;
- Methodical management and goal setting.
They scored lower in:
- Emotional stability;
- Ability to weather job-related pressure and stress.
So if women possess most of the qualities necessary to be a leader, what is stopping them?
Lack of positive and visible females in leadership in traditional industries is a hurdle both from providing others with an example that it IS indeed possible and because organizational culture starts from the top (decisions made, how women are viewed and so on). There are many powerful women in entertainment and fashion although I think ageism/sexism still plays a part – one just has to watch “The Devil wears Prada” to see how strong women are perceived – I doubt if there had been a Mr. Wintour we would have had a movie about it. There are still conscious and unconscious bias against women in leadership and especially strong women.
Career advancement is not however just about experience, knowledge and/or skills but also about personal development and credibility. One contributing factor in rising to leadership level in a chosen field is partly applying expertise as well as judgment, critical thinking and keeping knowledge and skills up to date – developing a continuous improvement mindset and professional credibility has wider implications and importance.
“ (Emerging) leaders need mentor to guide them, but they also need a network of peers, to reassure them that they are not on the path alone”. – Alyse Nelson – President and CEO, Vital Voices.
I definitely agree that leaders need mentors; I don’t know if I necessarily agree with a network of peers being a practical tool to help your way to the top. Indeed your peers share your issues and your struggle, which means they haven’t got a solution as yet.
There are professional bodies out there for almost any occupation and what they do is not just providing a “stamp of approval” and add to individual credibility but also provide a community to link up to, exchange views/ask questions, receive support and easily available credible resources and industry trends. Nevertheless not everyone rises to the top even belonging to these bodies, and this is even more applicable for women.
“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” – Napoleon Hill.
If you want to be the best, you need to learn from the best – I have not invented this phrase – you can hear for the lips of the most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, billionaires out there. And that is the point.
You need someone who has been there, seen it, done it and got the t-shirt so to speak and you can emulate exactly what he or she have done and shortcut your way to success.
“If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results” – Tony Robbins.
Women may share a lot of things (the blogosphere explosion is a testament to this) but having a strong mentor usually is not one, men seem to be more apt at networking with purpose and connecting with people who can help them rather than just sharing experiences.
Having a mentor is one the most critical factor for continuous growth and accelerated success. If you haven’t got one, what are you waiting for ?