By: Anna Jones
Beyoncé, in song-form, once asked, “Who run the world?” and of course, answered herself with the resounding and apropos hook, “Girls.” Women have proven time and time again to be effective leaders - study by the Harvard Business Review, even scoring higher than men in the leadership department, according to a study by the Harvard Business Review.
Maybe Beyoncé was onto something. In fact, the aforementioned study shows that men only scored higher than women in one key area: developing strategic perspective. The reason being, states HBR, is “top leaders always score significantly higher in this competency; since more top leaders are men, men still score higher here in the aggregate.” So, in this case, men won by default (to be fair, we fully believe in the value of both male and female leaders and the different qualities each brings to the table - diversity, people, that’s all we’re saying!).
In studies from management consulting firm McKinsey, there are nine key leadership workplace behaviors that improve overall performance: “participative decision-making; role model; inspiration; expectations and rewards; people development; intellectual stimulation; efficient communication; individualistic decision-making; and control and corrective action.” McKinsey states that “women apply five of these nine leadership behaviors more frequently than men.” Women tend to shine in people development. It makes sense: with employees being one of the main pillars of business, development is essential to a burgeoning bottom line.
Women take the time to listen, develop, and take part in mentoring relationships - aka people development. Female leaders also focus much of their energy on being role models for their employees. Commitment to changing dynamics within a company, along with strong leadership skills; these leaders are effectively able to retain top talent and have a competitive edge, which ultimately gives their respective companies an overall competitive edge in the marketplace.
Folks want to work under good management that is committed to mentoring and talent growth as opposed to utilizing control and corrective action. We would even go as far as to say that employees thrive under this type of leadership. Recent studies by executive coach David Rock and neuroscientist Jeffrey Schwartz, stated that there are several motivators that influence employees’ behavior more so than money. Many of these motivators are simply based on feelings, i.e., the feeling of autonomy, feelings of relatedness and fairness, and the perception of having your status elevated by a job role. Since women take a mentorship attitude in their leadership and are great listeners, this makes them effective motivators, able to manage employee expectations and goals.
It is somewhat ironic that listening, understanding, and investing time in an employee can be often seen as a leader’s weakness or as hurting the company, when studies show that it is clearly quite the opposite. How many of us have failed at a job, because of poor management, or because our bosses refused to listen or to take on a mentoring role? For example, a bad manager may hire an Executive Assistant, and fire him or her within a matter of weeks, because they “just don’t get it,” or they’re “not the right fit.” But if that manager had taken the time to thoroughly explain the ins and outs of the work environment and viewed their role as a mentor rather than a parent scolding a naughty child, then perhaps the EA would have thrived or even made vertical moves, as opposed to staying stagnant, being let go, or quitting. With knowledge that appears almost intrinsic to their success, perhaps women put in leadership roles could truly run the world.