The business world used to be an “old boys’ club,” but that’s no longer the case. More and more, women are proving they’re just as capable as men when it comes to taking on managerial roles, and a recent article in Monitor on Psychology suggests they may be even better than the fellas — at least in certain key areas.
As Monitor on Psychology editor Anna Medaris Miller writes in a piece for the Daily Muse, two new studies support the idea that leadership styles considered to be cutting edge “may come most naturally to women.” In one study concerning workplace skills, Monitor on Psychology researchers looked at 7,280 people and found that women scored higher in 12 of 16 crucial categories, among them “taking initiative.”
In another study, one group of people was charged with labeling 125 personality characteristics as either “masculine” or “feminine,” while another set of participants indicated whether each of those traits is favorable or undesirable in the business world. As Miller writes, “feminine traits overlapped with those descriptive of effective leaders,” and that led her to create the following list of 3 things everyone — men and women — can learn from strong female leaders.
1. Get to Know Employees on All Levels — The leading managerial styles these days are “more social and less directorial than in years’ past,” according to Miller, and that means bosses should get to know people at the bottom as well as at the top. The idea is to connect with people working under you, so you seem more like a colleague than an infallible authority figure.
2. Don’t Get Stuck In Your Ways — In today’s business climate, things change pretty fast, and according to Miller, the best leaders are the ones who show flexibility and are willing to learn new skills and collaborate with others.
3. Be a Coach — A boss shouldn’t be someone who simply doles out punishments and rewards. As per the Monitor on Psychology article Miller cites, the best leaders “inspire, teach, and coach.” You want to be Mike Ditka, not a dictator, in other words. Your employees will respect you for it, and that will likely translate to increased productivity and a more pleasant work environment.