Leadership is the ability to influence others to achieve common goals. To become an impactful leader, one needs to possess skills that can effectively communicate goals, motivate others, help others improve, give support when needed and ensure the well-being of their subordinates. In a study that examined gender and leadership styles, researchers found that, compared to male leaders, female leaders use more transformational leadership (inspiring, caring, and encouraging) and also engage in more of the contingent reward behaviors (this for that in a consistent manner). Here are the top seven leadership lessons and advice men can take from female leaders.
Males have a “fix-it” mentality when it comes to any situation, issue, or problem that arises. While this is a great trait to have, one thing we can learn from women in business is to care about the person and situation at hand. Place a strong focus on that part of the equation. Listen, wait to speak, and understand the human emotion that drives an issue before jumping in to fix things.
Know your limitations
Self-awareness is far more important than self-belief. And often there is a conflict between the two. For instance, awareness of your limitations (flaws and weaknesses) is incompatible with skyrocketing levels of self-belief, and the only reason to be utterly devoid of self-doubt and insecurities is a delusion. It is one of the most important leadership lessons men can learn from female leaders.
Serving those that serve others
Being a great leader is like being a parent. Just as we provide our children opportunity — to build self-confidence, education, and discipline when necessary all so that they can achieve more than we can imagine. Leadership is not a rank. While there are people that have authority that does not make them a leader. Some people have no authority, but they are leaders.
Don’t say you’re “humbled.” Be humble
We have been asking for humble leaders for 20 years or so, but we keep gravitating toward ones who are overconfident and narcissistic (generally not female). There are well-established gender differences in humility, and they favor women. Not all women are humble, of course, but selecting leaders on humility would result in more female than male leaders. Humility is fundamentally a feminine trait. It is also one that is essential to being a great leader. Without humility, it will be very hard for anyone in charge to acknowledge their mistakes, learn from experience, take into account other people’s perspectives, and be willing to change and get better. Perhaps the issue is not that men are unwilling or unable to display it, but that we dismiss them for leadership roles when they do. This must change, for humility is a critical driver of leadership effectiveness in both men and women. It is one of the most important leadership lessons men can learn from female leaders.
Pivot into new spaces.
Perhaps one of the most relevant lessons to learn amidst a pandemic is how to pivot into new spaces. This gets people out of their typical line of thinking and has them thinking really outside of the box. For example, if someone’s current business is selling insurance to small businesses, then B might be selling cars to small businesses or selling insurance to farmers, and C might be car dealerships on farms. Though you may not implement these specific ideas, it gets you more active in the creative part of your brain, reducing the judgmental part of your brain, and leaving you more open-minded to new ideas.”
Motivate through transformation
Academic studies show that women are more likely to lead through inspiration, transforming people’s attitudes and beliefs, and aligning people with meaning and purpose (rather than through carrots and sticks), than men are. Since transformational leadership is linked to higher levels of team engagement, performance, and productivity, it is a critical path to improving leaders’ performance. It is one of the most important leadership lessons men can learn from female leaders.
Leaders need a following
Being a leader requires having people who choose to follow you. Trust must be established before anyone will make the decision to follow you. Trust doesn’t emerge simply because a customer makes a decision to buy something. Trust is not a checklist. Fulfilling all your responsibilities does not create trust.
Trust is a feeling that begins to emerge when we have a sense that another person or organization is driven by things other than their self-gain. You must earn trust by communicating and demonstrating that you share the same values and beliefs.