In a rapidly changing world, it is paramount for female and male leaders to unlock the potential of all employees. Women leaders use a unique combination of leadership skills to lead more innovative and productive teams. In turn, this creates a well-balanced organization that produces results and is evolving in a future-ready way.
This article looks at the differences of female vs male leadership, highlights and explains the leadership skills that set women leaders apart from their male counterparts, and arrives at 10 reasons why female leaders benefit any organization.
Understanding Female Leadership vs Male Leadership
“Female CEOs illustrated greater empathy, adaptability and diversity more frequently than their male peers, per a survey of nearly 8,500 companies across 61 countries.”
How do women differ from men in their use of leadership styles? A look at science shows proven differences between the female and male brain. With different thought processes and activity levels in female and male brains, differences in leadership styles is a direct result.
An Overview of Female Leadership Skills
“A woman’s decision-making process is unique and even more distinctive when combined with the dynamics and subtleties of her personality and style.”
According to the World Economic Forum, women have 30% more neurons firing at any moment than men. This supports strengths linked to successful female leadership, including:
In previous decades, empathy, intuition, adaptability and diversity were viewed as ‘soft skills’. For too long, women leaders increasingly adopted male qualities to reach the C-level, but research shows that the best way to successful leadership regardless of gender is to recognize gender-specific traits and leverage them to succeed. This requires self-awareness — a quality that the most accomplished leaders embody.
Female Leadership Styles
Women leaders tend to use an empathetic style to influence others and to build trust, which produces productive and effective teams, often leading to superior results. The methods and approach to female leadership align with what is needed in today’s world to lead an organization successfully.
According to Forbes, purpose-led and mission-led leadership with an authentic focus on caring for people has become much more important during the pandemic.
While this evolution in leadership is predominantly seen in female leaders, male leaders are starting to understand that empathy and other skills previously viewed as soft can go hand in hand with more traditional leadership skills.
Key Female Leadership Skills
A closer look at women’s leadership skills shows that the key skills women leaders use to excel at the helm of an organization can be summarized as a unique, female mission-led and purpose-led leadership.
Leaders actively seek to understand others’ points of view. Bringing empathy to working and communicating with others inspires teams and individuals, creating trust and keeping the organization moving forward.
Adapting to rapid external changes, showing flexible leadership when responding to internal needs and shifts, revising strategies as necessary means to lead a company successfully through change.
Effective and assertive communication means adapting the communication style, active listening, and a clear and proactive approach shape successful communication, ensuring transparency across all levels of the organization.
Personal values and a deep sense of fairness drive diversity. Authentic commitment and cultural intelligence, leaders create an environment where employees feel valued. This leads to enhanced performance of the individual and the organization as a whole.
These skills are also indicative of an inclusive leadership style. To read more about inclusive leadership, head over to our blog article to read more about inclusive leadership.
Inclusive Leadership Articles
Benefits of Female Leadership
Emphatic, adaptable, successful – the positive impact of female leadership on results is measurable. In a business context that is highly diverse and changing at a faster rate than ever before, a leadership style with emphasis on new leadership skills leads to a rise in women CEOs and women in leadership roles.
In 2019, the proportion of women in senior management roles
globally grew to 29%, the highest number ever recorded. Source
Companies with greater gender diversity, not just within their workforce but directly among senior leaders, are significantly more profitable than those without. Source
Companies with the most ethnically/culturally diverse boards worldwide are 43% more likely to experience higher profits. Source
The Fortune Global 500 reported an all-time high of 23 women CEOs in 2021, including six women of color. Source
10 Reasons Why We Need More Women in Leadership
Women leaders are powerful agents of positive change. Realizing the benefits of women in leadership from diversity to pay and gender parity is only the beginning of the value female leaders bring to an organization.
Key female leadership skills shape the leadership style that allow women leaders to take companies into the post-pandemic future.
Women leaders will bring and invite creativity, different perspectives, and innovative ideas into their leadership team and the entire organization. This leadership style creates new perspectives and transformational ideas.
3.Informed Decisions: Intuition Paired with Hard Facts
Decisions are driven by facts and intuition, resulting in a thriving business.
4.Unique Blend of Values and Skills
A new set of skills and values, previously coined “soft skills”, joins the traditional set of leadership skills and is best executed by highly successful female leaders .
Communication is a strong skill amongst female leaders, used to enhance truth and transparency throughout the organization.
6.Improved Financial Outcome
In a diverse workplace that welcomes transformational ideas, it is more likely that creative, transformational ideas will be presented and executed to fuel growth.
7.Leading with a New Perspective
A diverse workforce brings new perspectives, a range of experiences, angles and ideas that contribute to innovation throughout the business.
8.The Value of Improved Diversity
Women leaders understand and value diversity in their organization as a way to increase productivity, performance, retention, and hit above-average results.
9.Unique Problem-Solving Ability
Women leaders quickly adjust to new situations and focus on finding solutions. Different thought processes and activity levels in the female brain empower this leadership skill.
10.Closing the Gender Pay Gap
As the ones affected by it historically, women in leadership can drive change in their organization, closing the gender pay gap more effectively.
Key Search Helps You Find Female Leaders
We help some of the world’s most exciting startups and fast-growth companies hire their female leaders. Our expertise and in-house research makes us the partner you need to hire the best female leaders for your company.
Set up an introductory call with our female CEO and founder, Franziska Palumbo-Seidel, to find out how Key Search can help you with your executive search.