Women’s Leadership Style Research Paper Samples
Heading 1: The progress of women’s leadership in America.
America has seen tremendous progress toward equality between the sexes since the feminist movement began in 1848 at the Senecca Falls Convention. Rather than being dominated in a patriarchal society and regulated to relying on men for survival, women in contemporary society are able to earn a living on their own. Whereas throughout history the leadership roles women have held have been in the home, in volunteer positions or as teachers women now have a much wider variety of leadership roles to choose from. Women now serve in leadership positions in government, business and the military. It is imperative for modern day men to learn to understand, respect and value women’s leadership style. To do this, one must understand the history of women in leadership and learn from women currently serving in leadership roles.
Heading 2: Abigail Adams uses her influence to lead positive change.
One of the first women who served in a leadership role in America was Abigail Adams. She was married to the second president of the United States, John Adams. While the role of “first lady” was not as overtly focused on leadership as it is today Abigail led in the way she could at the time. “Abigail Adams, wife of the second president, John Adams, is widely accepted to have been his intellectual equal and is famous for trying to influence her husband to ‘Remember the Ladies’ in the new nation’s code of laws.” (“First Ladies”, n.d., para 2) The leadership style Abigail Adams used was influence, she didn’t have an assigned leadership role within society so she led in a personal manner by asserting her influence on the person who did have an assigned leadership role, her husband. As the country progressed women began to have the opportunity to serve in leadership roles that were recognized by society.
Heading 3: Elizabeth Cady Stanton goes beyond influence and officially takes on a leadership role in the United States.
One of the first women in American history to serve in a leadership manner recognized by society was Elizabeth Cady Stanton. “Prominent 19th century suffragist and civil rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) became involved in the abolitionist movement after a progressive upbringing. She helped organize the world’s first women’s rights convention in 1848, and formed the National Women’s Loyal League with Susan B. Anthony in 1863. Seven years later, they established the National Woman Suffrage Association.” (Foner and Garraty, n.d., para 1) Unlike Abigail Adams, Elizabeth Cady Stanton did not rely on influencing a man in a leadership position. She became a leader within society herself. She used her education and social standing to drive change. Her desire for leading the country to equal rights for women was driven by her disdain of the cultural norm for the female role: “Elizabeth bore the last three of their seven children and grew resentful of her domestic confinement.” (Foner and Garraty, n.d., para 3) She was not going to be content merely influencing those in power, she wanted to be in a position of power herself. Elizabeth Cady Stanton paved the way for the female leaders that followed her.
Heading 4: Eleanor Roosevelt leads on a global stage.
After Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s death another person made major strides in women’s leadership within society. Eleanor Roosevelt began her leadership role as the first lady to the thirty-second president of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, but her contributions to leadership went beyond being the first lady. After the president passed away Eleanor continued working in a leadership capacity: “From 1945 to 1953, Eleanor served as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. She also became chair of the UN's Human Rights Commission. As a member of the Human Rights Commission, she helped to write the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—an effort that she considered to be her greatest achievement.” (“Eleanor Roosevelt”, 2015, para 6) Eleanor Roosevelt solidified one of the major contributing impacts on women leadership styles that Abigail Adams and Elizabeth Cady Stanton began. All three of these women believed progress in rights was necessary for increased quality of life for women, they believed that women would be happier if they were on equal footing with men in society. They were deeply driven to provide a better life for women which is indicative of the nurturing aspect of the female gender. These women were also driven to prove themselves, they threw themselves into their work with the tremendous motivation of proving that women could play with the big boys. These driving factors are still prevalent in women’s leadership styles today.
Heading 4: Personal reflection stating rationale for choosing women’s leadership styles for my diversity project.
I chose to immerse myself in the world of women leaders for my diversity project because I realize how important it is to better understand the motivations, trials and tribulations women experience when traversing the world of leadership today. This issue is important to me because of the women in my life. I have many female leaders among my friends and family and I have tremendous respect for them. I wanted to learn more about women in leadership to better understand the women in my life. I also realize that in this day in age it is very likely I will work with women leaders in my professional life. It is important to me to be as effective as possible in my career and I understand how important it will be for me to work well with women leaders to accomplish my goals. I believe women have been oppressed throughout history and I am thankful for the progress that has happened over the last hundred years to bring women more in alignment with men in terms of equality. Metha & Sharma describe why official leadership roles are so important to the quality of life for women: “Empowerment has a number of dimensions with leadership as being one of themThe promotion of women’s empowerment as a development goal is based on a dual argument: that social justice is an important aspect of human welfare and is intrinsically worth pursuing; and that women’s empowerment is a means to other ends.” (2014) I value human welfare for all people so it is important for me to do whatever I can to support women in leadership, this project is one way for me to do that.
Heading 1: Women’s style of leadership is perceived by some to be more effective than men’s style of leadership.
Attributes that make good leaders include, among many other things, nurturing actions, drive and consistency. In January 2014 Business Insider conducted a study comparing women and men in leadership: “Our standard 360-degree feedback instrument measures 16 competencies The majority of people we talk with make the assumption that women will excel at nurturing competencies such as developing others, inspiring and motivating others, relationship building, collaboration and teamwork. The chart above demonstrates that these competencies are more positive for women. But those competencies with the largest positive differences are taking initiative, displaying integrity and honesty, and driving for results.” (Sherwin, 1/24/2014, para 11-13) In contemporary society women are still displaying the same nurturing and highly driven attributes that female leaders of the past displayed. The reasoning behind the difference in drive between male and females leaders was explained by research: “When we ask them to explain why women were perceived as more effective, what we frequently heard was, ‘In order to get the same recognition and rewards, I need to do twice as much, never make a mistake and constantly demonstrate my competence.’ (The shorter version of what we regularly heard from women was that ‘we must perform twice as well to be thought half as good.’)” (Sherwin, 1/24/2014, para 8) Women feel they need to work a lot harder to prove themselves to be as good as the men. This results in tremendous drive and motivation. A study done by Chengyan & Qiang also supported the theory that women’s style of leadership is more effective than men’s style: ““the leadership and management style of women is more effective and more humane than that of men and that women’s LS focuses on communication, coordination, good interpersonal relationship, and collective success.” (2013) Research supports the notion that women’s approach to leadership is heavily influenced by relationships rather than individual achievement and drive. The notion of relationships is not limited to personal connection, it is deeply woven into all parts of women’s leadership process: “found that women’s leadership style operates on multiple levels emerging from a series of relationships with others, their relationship with the physical and geographical location where they were brought and lived, and their relationship to their place of work.” (Brown & Light, 2012) While it will take more time for it to be determined if women’s style of leadership is more effective than men’s leadership style, there are many experts who see significant differences between the ways men and women approach leadership: “In comparison, male leaders are more prone to an individual decision making, impersonal reaction; tend to avoid analyzing the subtleties of interpersonal relationships. Meanwhile, the female leaders are rather proactive in communication, exhibiting the superior sociable skills with team members, appreciating collaboration.” (Silingiene & Stukaite, 2014) Regardless of the differences between women and men in leadership it is clear women have serious hurdles to overcome.
Heading 2: The challenges women face when getting into leadership roles.
we found no relationship between incumbents’ sex and nomination of female successors, when perceptions of diversity climate and incumbent performance were entered into the equation We can assume that almost all women managers engaged in making succession-planning decisions would be fairly senior. Having “made it” to the top, they may not feel that other women need a helping hand—thereby weakening the effect of social identity.” (Virick & Greer, 2012)
All that being said, with the right traits and circumstances women can work their way into leadership roles: “Confidence and pro-activity is required if women want to progress to leadership positions.” (Filsinger & Worth, 2012) In addition: “Self-esteem was already reasonably robust and attitudes toward women were already more liberal than traditional, indicating a homogeneity among the participants and a ceiling effect.” (Grantham et al, 2014)
The difficulties female leaders face do not abate once they have a leadership role, there are other challenges that arise when they are in leadership positions.
Heading 3: The challenges women face once in a leadership role.
While society has made great strides toward normalizing the act of women working outside the home it is still expected that most mothers act as the main source of nurturing for their children. This makes the work/life balance very difficult for female leaders: “Female head athletic trainers did not seek the role, but through persistence and encouragement, they find themselves assuming the role Life balancing and parenting were identified as barriers to women seeking the role of head athletic trainer.” (Mazerolle, Burton & Cotrufo, 2015) Women leaders also struggle with the issue of being considered too nice: “Although with small effect sizes, benevolence fosters the possibility of holding a leadership role for men, but harms women from powerful positions, both in management and in political fields.” (Rollero, & Fedi, 2014) On the other hand, if a women leader tries to assert herself she risks the potential of being deemed unlikeable: “In short, women can face trade-offs between competence and likability in leadership roles.” (Ely, Ibarra, & Kolb, 2011) Women leaders often find themselves assigned leadership duties that are not as good as the duties their male counter-parts may be assigned: “specifically the delegation of less rewarding tasks to women and/or the appointment of women to leadership roles with a high risk of negative consequences.” (DeFrank-Cole et al, 2014) Or women may be in leadership roles in which the work is feminine in nature: “Engineering, project management and construction are still areas which are highly
male-dominated. Where there is representation of women in top leadership positions, those women are mostly in Finance and Human Resource Management.” (Maseko & Proches, 2013) Lastly, if a company is failing under female leadership the woman can often be blamed and replaced by a man:
The saviour effect predicts that women will be granted less of an opportunity to prove their leadership capabilities compared to men, leading to significantly shorter tenures. In addition, women CEOs of firms experiencing declining growth are likely to be replaced by more traditional leaders — men who will be brought in to ‘save’ the firm from poor leadership. (Cook & Glass, 2014)
As difficult as the path to leadership is for women, it is a path worth fighting for.
Heading 4: Why it is important for women to be in leadership positions.
Women can benefit greatly from working in leadership positions. Leadership roles are empowering on both an internal and external level. Internally, working in leadership roles can raise a woman’s sense of self-esteem as well as the confidence in their ability to take care of themselves. On an external level: “Higher status, greater salaries, enhanced career goals, significant impact on management practices, and the opportunity to impact policy all come with the promotion of women to administrative positions, making such positions very desirable public goods.” (Kerr, 2014) It is clear that the ability for women to serve in leadership roles is something everyone in society needs to band together and fight for:
“More than ninety years after the Nineteenth Amendment extended suffrage to women, it is clear that achieving parity in representation is not something that will happen on its own. Without concerted efforts to encourage women to pursue public office and to eliminate the stereotypes and other barriers to public service, women are likely to remain in the minority of representation, with their priority issues taking a backseat to others.” (Kunz & Staton, 2013)
Heading 1: Reflection on the perception that women’s leadership approach is more effective than men’s leadership approach.
My interview and immersion experience support the research I found regarding women’s approach to leadership being more about relationships, collaboration and supporting others is accurate. Both the woman leader I interviewed and the women at the small business workshop I attended displayed a strong emphasis on interpersonal skills in leading. As for whether or not these traits are more effective than the traditionally masculine traits of individualism and dominance, the answer to that question is debatable. Many of the recent world-changing developments were driven by men who had little to no interest in cultivating relationships or listening to lots of opinions. I doubt Steve Jobs cared much if the people who worked for him felt nurtured, he cared that his vision became reality and did whatever it took to make that happen.
Heading 2: Reflection on the challenges women face when getting into leadership roles.
My personal experience backed up the research in this issue. Many of the women leaders I interacted with expressed how difficult it is for them to balance work and life. They also indicated that the companies they worked for before staring their own businesses had a lot of politics that created glass ceilings which the women couldn’t progress past and they couldn’t get hired on at a leadership level at other companies. The women I learned from did not mention anything about other women acting in a catty manner making it more difficult for other women to get into leadership but based on how I see many females act toward one another I didn’t find that issue surprising. I have a much better understanding as to how difficult it is for women to get into leadership positions.
Heading 3: Reflection on the challenge women face in leadership roles.
My personal experience didn’t support the research as much in this area. The women I spoke with didn’t mention being regulated to leadership roles of a nurturing nature or feeling like they were disliked if they were assertive or competent. However, I have read other accounts of women who received harsh nicknames for being aggressive and I myself have had experiences where I dislike dealing with women who are very masculine. I am thankful for this experience because I now have more empathy for women who act in a masculine way, I don’t think I will be as bothered by their actions anymore.
Heading 4: Reflection on why it is important for women to be in leadership roles.
The research conveyed how external quality of life is increased when a woman is in a leadership role and that fact was backed up by my personal experience. The women leaders I spoke with did have a better quality of life because of their work. I think it is important for women to have the ability to work in leadership positions because it gives them a better life.
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