FEMALE LEADERSHIP ADVANTAGE AND DISADVANTAGE: RESOLVING THE CONTRADICTIONS
This mix of apparent advantage and disadvantage that women leaders experience reflects the considerable progress toward gender equality that has taken place in both attitudes and behavior, coupled with the lack of complete attainment of this goal.
a Wall Street Journal
[m]ale directors are simply afraid to take an un- necessary risk by selecting a woman”
In contemporary culture of the United States, women on the one hand are lauded as having the right combination of skills for leadership, yielding superior leadership styles and outstanding effectiveness. On the other hand, there ap- pears to be widespread recognition that women often come in second to men in competitions to attain leadership posi- tions. Women are still portrayed as suffering disadvantage in access to leadership positions as well as prejudice and resistance when they occupy these roles
HOW IS GOOD LEADERSHIP DEFINED?
DO WOMEN HAVE AN ADVANTAGE IN LEADERSHIP STYLE?
DO WOMEN HAVE AN ADVANTAGE IN LEADER EFFECTIVENESS?
WHERE IS THE FEMALE DISADVANTAGE?
CONSEQUENCES OF PREJUDICE TOWARD FEMALE LEADERS
ADVANTAGE PLUS DISADVANTAGE
As situational theorists of leadership contend (see Ayman, 2004), the appropriateness of partic- ular types of leader behaviors depends on the context— features such as societal values, the culture of organizations, the nature of the task, and the characteristics of followers.
For example, a leader with a typically participative style might display the collaborative behaviors of consulting, discussing, agreeing, cooperating, or negotiating, depending on the circumstances.
Leadership researchers responded to this changing en- vironment by defining good leadership as future-oriented rather than present-oriented and as fostering followers’ commitment and ability to contribute creatively to orga- nizations.
In this tradition, transformational leader- ship involves establishing oneself as a role model by gaining followers’ trust and confidence. Such leaders delineate or- ganizations’ goals, develop plans to achieve those goals, and creatively innovate, even in organizations that are already successful. Transformational leaders mentor and empower their subordinates and encourage them to develop their potential and thus to contribute more effectively to their organization.
These researchers also portrayed a more conventional type of leadership that they labeled transactional.
uch leaders appeal to subordinates’ self-interest by establish- ing exchange relationships with them. Transactional leaders clarify subordinates’ responsibilities, reward them for meet- ing objectives, and correct them for failing to meet objec- tives.
overall failure to take responsibility for managing.
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