We think most people know the book Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus that asserts a fundamental psychological difference between men and women.
It got us wondering:
Do Women and Men lead differently?
We did some digging. Let’s look at the good news first.
According to a 2018 Pew Research Survey:
“Many if not most, Americans see men and women as equally capable when it comes to some of the key qualities and behaviors that are essential for leadership”
These included being honest, holding up under pressure and standing up for what they believe in.
The survey also found that although male and female leaders have different styles, relatively few thought one style was better than another.
For those who saw a difference, women were seen as more compassionate, empathetic and able to work out compromise. While men were seen as being more willing to take risks.
Another analysis of opinion polls from 1946 to 2018 regarding gender stereotypes in the US found that the public considers women more competent than it did before.
But, unfortunately, there is more...
The same poll found that the beliefs about women’s ability to achieve goals and reach mastery hasn’t budged in all of those years.
As a result, in traditional male fields, female leaders may be siphoned off into roles that align with female stereotypes such as education ministries within government or human relations within management.
So, how do we go about bringing about gender equity in leadership?
Obviously this is a huge topic with many facets and would be a blog that you would have to scroll through for days.
We are not going to do that to you!
We will leave you with some things to ponder.
First, make a list of the things that you believe are essential to quality leadership.
Then ask yourself:
How many of these do I possess?
How many of these does my staff possess?
What can I do to build and support these qualities in myself and others?
Shifting focus away from stereotypical views of either gender and more toward cultivating quality leadership in everyone will lead to organizations that will benefit the world...and maybe even Mars and Venus.