Excerpt from Ways Women Lead
by Dr. Judy B. Rosner
Women managers who have broken the glass ceiling in medium-sized, non traditional organizations have proven that effective leaders donít come from one mold. They have demonstrated that using the command-and-control style of managing others, a style generally associated with men in large, traditional organizations, is not the only way to succeed.
The first female executives, because they were breaking new ground, adhered to many of the "rules" of conduct" that spelled success for men. Now a second wave of women is making its way into top management, not by adopting the style and habits that have proved successful for men buy by drawing on the skills and attitudes they developed from their shared experience as women. These second-generation managerial women are drawing on what is unique to their socialization as women and crating a different path to the top. They are seeking and finding opportunities in fast-changing and growing organizations to show that they can achieve results - in a different way. They are succeeding because of - not in spite of - certain characteristics generally considered to be feminine" and inappropriate in leaders.
The womenís success shows that a nontraditional leadership style is well suited to the conditions of some work environments and can increase an organizationís chances of surviving in an uncertain world. It supports the belief that there is strength in a diversity of leadership styles.
In a recent survey sponsored by the International Womenís Forum, I found a number of unexpected similarities between men and women leaders along with some important differences. Among these similarities are characteristics related to money and children. I found that men and women respondents earned the same amount of money (and the household income of the women is twice that of men). This find is contrary to most studies, which find a considerable wage gap between men and women, even at the executive level. I also found that just as many men as women experience work-family conflict (although when there are children at home, the women experience slightly more conflict than men).
But the similarities end when men and women describe their leadership performance and how they usually influence those with whom they work. the men are more likely than the women to describe themselves in ways that characterize what some management experts call "transactional" leadership. That is, they view job performance as a series of transactions with subordinates - exchanging rewards for services rendered or punishment for inadequate performance. The men are also more likely to use power that comes for their organization position and formal authority.
the women respondents, on the other hand, described themselves in ways that characterize "transformational leadership - getting subordinates to transform their own self-interest into the interest of the group through concern for a broader goal. Moreover, they ascribe their power to personal characteristics like charisma, interpersonal skills, hard work, or personal contacts rather than to organization structure.
Judy B. Rosener is a noted author frequently quoted in nation's major business and consumer media in addition to being a faculty member at the Graduate School of Management at the Univesity of California, Irvine and coauthor with Marilyn Loden of workforce America. Copyright ©1989 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved.
Emergingleader.com sincerely thanks Dr. Rosner for allowing us to provide an excerpt from her article which was first offered in the November-December 1990 Edition of Harvard Business Review. While this
article was originally authored almost 9 years ago - it is even more relavant today as women
"emerge" in newer and more vibrant leadership roles.