Leadership styles: opportunities for women

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Leadership styles: opportunities for women


Categories: leadership, women


Much has been studied about leadership styles and about the characteristics a leader should have. However, not as many studies include gender as a variable in their evaluations. Additionally, the studies that have done it differ in design, methodology and evaluations performed so though it is tempting to make an assertion about the case, it is difficult to conclude that there is a feminine leadership style in contraposition with a masculine one. Nonetheless, women have been associated more than men to exert a transformational leadership.

Transformational leadership style is often compared with the transactional style and is a model that takes into account different variables addressed separately by other leadership theories like traits, behavior, context and organizational culture that are combined in this model. Below is a brief summary and comparison of both models.

From:https://www.aiesec.nl/blog/personal-development/transformational-leadership-vs-transactional-leadership/

 

The transformational model of leadership focus on team-building, motivation and collaboration with employees to accomplish a desired change. Transformational leaders motivate and inspires employees through incentives and by providing opportunities for growth while setting goals that are aligned with the strategic vision of the organization as well as with the team and the employee’s own interests, values and needs. This style of leadership is proactive and best for turbulent or changing environments. Women are more identified with this style of leadership where cooperation, collaboration, equity and empathy are characteristics traits.

Transactional leaders, on the other hand, use disciplinary power and incentives as rewards or punishments to motivate employees to perform at their best. They are more concerned with maintaining the normal conditions and operations of the organization rather than with achieving change. This style of leadership is reactive and more suited for settled environments.

The transactional style is the traditional leadership style used extensively across different organizations for many years and it is identified with masculine traits like self- interest and competitivity, authority, control, effectiveness, etc.

Today many companies are immersed in changing and dynamic environments where the ability to response fast is highly valuable and needed to stay competitive. The traditional leadership model, based almost exclusively in increasing productivity and efficiency is being challenged. Strong hierarchized and bureaucratized organizations with specialized functional areas may not have the adequate structure for this new globalized environment.

Opportunities arise here for women who generally exert a transformational leadership style that is more suited in this scenario. Inspirational motivation, the ability to create a sense of purpose and commitment, intellectual stimulation and the creation of shared spaces for discussion and joint resolution of problems are all traits and abilities associated with feminine characteristics related to cooperation, collaboration and empathy. These characteristics are needed in organizations that required flexibility and rapid adaptation to change, where innovation and changes are not only needed but welcomed.

In summary, though is it difficult to differentiate and define a feminine leadership style it seems that women are more identified with the transformational one in which more feminine characteristics are represented. Certainly, also men could have them and exert a transformational style. Though transactional style has been the model widely accepted and used in traditional organizations, a fact that may have contributed to the under-representation of women in managerial positions, there seems to be now good perspectives for women with the values and attitudes needed to be a transformational leader.

Lastly but not less, many studies reveal that men outperform women when testing self-confidence perception. We should pay attention to this, it is time to start working on it so as to be able to fully seize every opportunity that arise.

 

 

Spanish version

 

Estilos de liderazgo: oportunidades para las mujeres.

 

Mucho se ha estudiado sobre los estilos de liderazgo y sobre las características que debe tener un líder, sin embargo, no se han realizado muchos estudios que incluyan al género como una de las variables de sus evaluaciones. Los estudios que sí lo han hecho, además, difieren en el diseño, la metodología utilizada y las evaluaciones realizadas, por lo que, si bien es tentador hacer una afirmación sobre el tema, es difícil concluir que existe un estilo de liderazgo femenino en contraposición con uno masculino. A pesar de esto, las mujeres se han asociado más que los hombres a ejercer un estilo de liderazgo del tipo transformacional.

El estilo de liderazgo transformacional normalmente se compara con el estilo transaccional y es un modelo que toma en cuenta y combina diferentes variables que han sido abordadas por separado por otras teorías de liderazgo tales como rasgos, comportamiento, contexto y cultura organizacional. A continuación, se muestra un breve resumen y comparación de ambos modelos:

 

De: https://www.aiesec.nl/blog/personal-development/transformational-leadership-vs-transactional-leadership/

 

El modelo de liderazgo transformacional se centra en la formación de equipos, la motivación y la colaboración con los empleados con el objetivo de lograr un cambio deseado. Los líderes transformacionales motivan e inspiran a sus seguidores a través de incentivos y brindan oportunidades de crecimiento al tiempo que establecen objetivos que están alineados con la visión estratégica de la organización, así como con el equipo y los intereses propios, valores y necesidades del colaborador. Este estilo de liderazgo es proactivo y es mejor para ambientes turbulentos o cambiantes. Las mujeres están más identificadas con este estilo de liderazgo donde la cooperación, la colaboración, la equidad y la empatía son características.

Los líderes transaccionales, por otro lado, utilizan el poder disciplinario y los incentivos como recompensas o castigos para motivar a los empleados a rendir al máximo. Están más enfocados en mantener las condiciones y operaciones normales de la organización en lugar de lograr un cambio. Este estilo de liderazgo es reactivo y más adecuado para entornos establecidos.

El estilo transaccional es el estilo de liderazgo tradicional que ha sido utilizado ampliamente en diferentes organizaciones durante muchos años y que se identifica con rasgos masculinos como el propio interés y la competitividad, la autoridad, el control, la efectividad, etc.

En la actualidad, muchas empresas se encuentran inmersas en entornos cambiantes y dinámicos donde la capacidad para dar respuestas rápidas es muy valiosa y, aún más, necesaria para mantener la competitividad. El modelo de liderazgo tradicional, basado casi exclusivamente en el aumento de la productividad y de la eficiencia, está siendo desafiado. Las organizaciones fuertemente jerarquizadas y burocratizadas, con áreas funcionales especializadas pueden no tener la estructura adecuada para este nuevo entorno globalizado. Es aquí donde surgen oportunidades para las mujeres que generalmente ejercen un estilo de liderazgo transformacional, más adecuado a este nuevo escenario.

La motivación inspiradora, la capacidad de crear un sentido de propósito y compromiso, la estimulación intelectual y la creación de espacios compartidos para el debate y la resolución conjunta de problemas son rasgos y habilidades que están asociados con características femeninas relacionadas con la cooperación, la colaboración y la empatía, características que se necesitan en organizaciones que requieren flexibilidad y rápida adaptación al cambio, donde la innovación y los cambios no solo son necesarios sino también bienvenidos.

En resumen, aunque es difícil diferenciar y definir un estilo de liderazgo femenino, pareciera ser que las mujeres se identifican más que los hombres con el estilo transformacional en el que están más representadas características femeninas. Ciertamente, también los hombres podrían tener estas habilidades y características y ejercer un estilo de liderazgo transformacional. Si bien el estilo transaccional ha sido el modelo ampliamente aceptado y utilizado en las organizaciones tradicionales, hecho que puede haber contribuido a la subrepresentación de las mujeres en puestos directivos, pareciera ser que hay ahora buenas perspectivas para las mujeres que poseen los valores y las actitudes necesarias para ser una líder transformacional.

Por último pero no menos importante, cabe notar que existen varios estudios que revelan que los hombres superan a las mujeres en su percepción de confianza en sí mismos. Deberíamos prestar atención a esto, pareciera ser hora de empezar a trabajar en esto de manera de poder aprovechar de lleno las oportunidades que se nos presentan.

 

 

Bibliography/Bibliografía

-Liderazgo femenino: un modelo transformacional frente al paradigma de la organización tradicional. Thesis · September 2013. Maria Medina-Vincent. Universitat Jaume I. España

-Mujer y liderazgo en el siglo XXI: una aproximación psicosocial a los factores que dificultan el acceso de la mujer a los puestos de alta responsabilidad. Memoria Final (Abril 2009). Proyecto nº: 22/05. Investigador principal Fernando Molero Alonso. Instituto de la mujer. Secretaría General de políticas de igualdad. Ministerio de igualdad. España.

Posted by Fernanda Quinteros on: January 16, 2019 07:28 AM | Permalink

Comments (14)

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Transactional models of communication gives birth to transformational negotiation, performance and influence. Awesome article!

In the past I have never wanted to have a different set of standards for men and women in leadership roles. My personal approach as a woman in leadership is to inspire others to do better, to do more than individuals or teams even know they can and to be transformational with a proactive emphasis. Your blog gave me a lot to think about. Thank you!

Good one. Thanks for sharing

Excellent article about a different kind of leadership.
By different reasons you could have people without motivation. It is a complicated issue. Sometimes there are limits for transformation keeping the same team.
What should be done in this cases?

Very good post with excellent insight. Thanks.

Great insights. Thanks for sharing.

Women are more versatile in leadership skills and can multitask over 100% than men !

Absolute different food for thought. your artical is truly inspiration and I feel proud on being women an dleading the team. Initially I used to think why my way of leading any inititative is different but you aptly put forth that its women's leadership style and it is really beneficial !

“so, though it is tempting to make an assertion about the case, it is difficult to conclude that there is a feminine leadership style in contraposition with a masculine one. Nonetheless, women have been associated more than men to exert a transformational leadership”

So, right from the start, while the opinion-piece is written in a somewhat “Professional Paper” like style, the author ‘dances’ around what ought to have been clearly stated as, “In my opinion.”


“Nonetheless, women have been associated more than men to exert a transformational leadership.”

If I may, what is the source for this bold assertion? This is no small matter as it then becomes the foundation for the balance of the writer’s argument.

When I have asked professional women what they have done, and how they managed to accomplish it to exercise their managerial and leadership ability, the most frequent response continues to be “It Depends.”

Excellent!!

Turns out, there is “No one size fits all” way to navigate the “White waters of project management/leadership.”

My own observation, as a data point of 1.0, is that I have observed that women tend to first seek relationship understanding first, without judgement, before they drill-down on project tasks next-steps.

You might like this one (but this is dae) - http://interestreads.blogspot.com/2007/11/role-of-indian-women-in-shaping-indias.html

Excellent article Fernanda!
Congrats!
I read several studies about women and men Leadership styles and agree with you that results states that women tend to be more transformational leaders and men more transactional.
And more point to analyze here is how these leadership styles fit to new generations.
I think millennials are more willing to be inspired and motivated by transformational Leadership.
What do you think?

Thank you all for your comments. Sorry for this late response.

Thanks Lori and Nilima for sharing your thoughts and experiences regarding your own leadership styles.

Two important research documents that associates women with a transformational leadership style are cited at the end of the article. These are only two examples of several other articles that also support this.
In my opinion and for what I have read, this does not mean that there is a clear and define feminine leadership style that is exerted exclusively by women but rather a certain style, the transformational one, shared both by women and men that in contraposition with the transactional style is characterized by feminine characteristics and traits. This is why, hence, is more associated to women. Hope I could make my point clear.

I totally agree with the phrase " No one size fits all". Every situation is different and we should be wise to notice when a change in needed and act accordingly. Flexibility and ability to adapt are keywords here.

Thanks William and Oyindamola!

You are welcome Fernanda!

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