Recently, I found some people arguing at a washing bay on a rather thorny but obvious topic: Is America ready for a female president?
In their argument the bigger group was more convinced that a woman can never be President because they are weak. Little did these fellows know that even some of the world’s top political leaders are women. Theresa May the new Prime minister Great Britain is a woman. Are these people informed?
In societies where men are truly confident of their own worth, women are not merely tolerated but valued.
A woman’s value has goes beyond the domestic boundaries from the time women started proving that they could also walk the legendary path formerly known to be for men. Women not only manage homes but also lead great nations and have become successful politicians.
In the FORBES list of the world’s 100 most powerful women in 2016, the top three most powerful are politicians. These are Germany’s Angela Merkel, U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
On the same list, there are other 11 heads of state as well as one 90-year-old monarch, two first ladies and two top-seed diplomats.
I told these men at the washing bay that the No. 1 most powerful woman and female politician is German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who directly controls the $3.3 trillion GDP of Germany, according to the IMF, and hugely influences the $16.2 trillion economy of the European Union. Germany is the world’s fifth largest economy and the largest led by a woman.
These men nodded their heads in disbelief. I added that in the past year alone, Taiwan, Myanmar, Nepal, Croatia, Mauritius, and Lithuania have elected or reelected female leaders to office. USA is threatening to join. If America was ready for a black president then the country is also ready for a woman president.
The leader provides vision and a sense of mission, instills pride, gains respect, trust and increases optimism. Such a leader excites and inspires subordinates. This dimension alone is a measure of the extent of followers’ admiration and respect for the leader. The good news is that women have all these traits.
At the lowest levels, more than half of the employees in organizations are female. As you move to each successively higher level in the organization, the number of women steadily shrinks. At the CEO level, worldwide, there are only 3% to 4% who are women. We are not focusing on the statistics but we are rather concentrating on the effectiveness of the very few who have made it there.
Studies have showed that leadership style is independent of gender. Actually male and female exhibit similar amounts of task oriented and people oriented leadership behaviours.
Running a country or a business organization is not about sex, it’s about brains. If you have a smart brain and some special skills you can manage.
There is something special about women leaders; women will excel at nurturing competencies such as developing others, inspiring and motivating others, relationship building, collaboration and teamwork, taking initiative, displaying integrity and honesty, and driving for results.
These competencies highlight that women were seen as more effective in getting things done, being role models and delivering results. In the end these skills describe leaders who take on difficult challenges, ensure that people act with integrity, and who simply achieve challenging results.
There is one other question that men keep on asking. What do women do that creates this difference in leadership effectiveness?
When women are asked as to why they are perceived as more effective they normally say they work extra hard in order to get the same recognition and rewards like the men.
Actually a woman thinks that she needs to do twice as much, never make a mistake and constantly demonstrate her competence. So the simple logic is that perform twice as well to be thought half as good.
Women have developed values and characteristics that result in leadership behaviors that are different from the traditional competitive, controlling aggressive leadership behaviours of men. Women leaders bring emotional literacy to the table.
They feel insecure and want to show people how smart and strong they are. They do so by hiding their vulnerability. Women are comfortable with diversity, having been outsiders themselves and knowing what kind of value fresh eyes could bring; They place a high value on relationships and judge the success of their organizations based on the quality of relationships within them.
One of the characteristics of good leaders is being a good communicator as well as a listener. Women are better listeners than men, and this is exactly the skill that is most critical for managing employees and customers. This is a result of women being more discussion oriented and men wanting to just take action.
Men communicate through activities rather than conversations. Also women are far more patient with employees than men. They are less likely to jump to an immediate conclusion or make a quick decision or take action too soon. This shows that women are willing to wait longer for a desired result.