May 28 '14

Identifying the different ways that males and females may lead in the workplace

By: Kyla Slen, VP of Operations

There are many different approaches people take when in a leadership role. While styles may differ depending on the person, there is also a general difference in styles depending on the gender. In a study conducted by Giombetti Associates and EurekaConnect, the differences in male and female leadership were analyzed and defined. The insight gained from the study can help both genders better leverage natural tendencies when leading and being led.

Males and females aren’t completely different when it comes to their leadership approaches. In fact, they had many similar scores in a variety of characteristics in leadership methods. However, understanding the differences in the way they lead is what can help people in an office or teamwork setting work better together.

For example, if you have been under the leadership of a male for the majority of your career, and then take on a new position under the leadership of a female, you will most likely experience differences in how your relationship is formed. You will typically see differences in how issues are resolved and how decisions are made. This does not make one style better than another but it does show there are material differences that are optimized when understood by all parties.

Comparing and contrasting approaches

When assessing the conflict profile to learn how males and females approach and respond to conflict situations, we learned men and women approach conflict in a slightly different way. Women tend to be better listeners because of their lower competing scores. They do not spend as much time trying to convince others of their position, but instead listen to the other person’s point of view; thus creating a more collaborative dynamic. Males, however, will try to win their position in a more aggressive manor. Both male and female leaders will collaborate, but women will work harder at the team dynamic as a result of their higher social skills and reward scores.

Men and women also differ in their diplomatic profile, where profiles like avoidance, compromise, and accommodation were all examined. Both female and male leaders tend to have direct operating styles, concerning the diplomatic profile, which are more effective and efficient. Yet even though their operating styles are the same, women are usually more concerned about preserving people’s feelings, causing them to be slightly more diplomatic than men, who are less concerned with the emotional sides of a conversation.

Using reward is another tactic men and women approach differently. Women tend to be better at using reward to influence a situation and will use it at a higher level. This is the nurturing side of their personality. When combining reward with their stronger social skills they are better at gaining the trust of others and using reward to effect change.

It was also discovered, after evaluating the male vs. female implementation profile, men will spend less time analyzing a situation. Women are more inclined to analyze or rationalize a situation, causing them to take a bit longer in aspects such as decision making than men. This is great to keep in mind if you are used to a male leader but are now working with a female leader, as she may take longer to respond to certain situations.

No right or wrong way

Despite the differences in the leadership styles and approaches of males and females, it is important to remember there is no right or wrong way. The key is to understand the differences in leadership styles so no matter who you are working with, you can optimize outcomes and success.

There are plenty other interesting and beneficial discoveries we found in conducting this study. If you are interested in learning more about the differences in the way males and females may lead in the workplace, click here.

Note: Scores and profiles reference in this article refer to characteristics defined in the EurekaConnect Behavioral Dynamics program