Edward Goold: "Women Lead with Love"
Is it true that gender differences in leadership talent favor males over females?... after all, there tend to more male leaders.
The fundamental thought behind this concept is that men have been privileged and men have some innate dominant qualities which are required to get people to do the work that has to be done. More recently, the concept of empathy in leadership has uncovered the idea that people are directly inspired by those that are empathetic to their personal issues. This older fundamental idea that gives such weight to qualities like assertiveness, boldness, or confidence may not be as viable when we see that it is empathy and active listening that inspires workers to follow leaders. In the bigger scheme of things like the old adage love they neighbor a more intimate relationship with a subordinate can actually improve things. However, psychologists warn that empathy does not necessarily include love. This one, two, connection with an employee, love and empathy is where truly caring supportive and inspirational women leaders come from! When a loving women leader is connecting and actively listening to an employee, she is sincerely demonstrating three powerful words, I understand you. This cannot be about mere sympathy, or I can understand how you feel that way. It is possible that a loving leader in this context along with having relevant competencies, (e.g., intelligence, curiosity, empathy, integrity, and coachability) could offer more talented leadership.
Does modesty which is what science indicates is something women have generally more than men, help or hinder leadership effectiveness?
The double-edged sword of this statement is on one-side particularly foreign cultures, such as Asian, Russian, and Persian people tend to believe that modesty is the best policy, the modesty behavior generally does not appear in dominant style leadership. When one is controlling a situation or dominating an employee they are not focusing on any modest behavior. The other side is if a leader takes advantage of the loving principle, then modesty will help them relate better. One of the major leadership theories relates to contingency theory which indicates there are different times to use different styles of leadership given the circumstances. This could relate to a type of tough love strategy becoming effective as well.
It has been said that love conquers all, how would this statement correlate with women leading with love?
Generally leading and innovating through love, while sincerely having empathy for your employees, creates an inspiring foundation for accomplishment. Some excerpts from award ceremonies indicate that women that are honored for their accomplishments often recognize the team which helped them excel, more than they revere their own capabilities to lead. One-woman executive at an awards ceremony for a large company said, "Once I found out more about them (women leaders in the company), I was just extremely honored. Every single woman here is working to make a difference. It takes baby steps, but if we work together, we can make great things happen."
They say behind every successful man is a loving woman. In this case one of the top executive women shared an influence from her father, "My father is the kindest man I know, except for my husband. . . It was from him that I learned my mediation skills. When I would come home angry because of a social injustice, he taught me that there were always two sides to every story. So, in this case, here the tables are turned! "You never achieve anything alone; it takes many hands and many minds," she went on. "I was privileged to have mentors who believed in me more than I believed in myself. My advice is to embrace every opportunity to develop your leadership skills, learn new ideas, and do not tell yourself you can't. If you want it, go do it."
What can we conclude from these new findings?
The time is ripe for women to take advantage of the gender differences that would tend to favor them as leaders. With that in mind first, do not give into the self-promoting male who might feel he deserves to be a leader because of their status but does not have the actual talents to back up what is needed to be an effective leader. Work hard to get the experience and then develop a good track record, when you are ready to be promoted show your accomplishments and skills.
Appreciate your own limitations. The business world tends to applaud self-belief, but it is more important to have self-awareness. Often there is a conflict between the two. For instance, knowing your limitations (flaws and weaknesses) is incompatible with rapidly increasing levels of self-belief, and the only reason that one would not question some flaws or weaknesses is delusion. Although women are not as insecure as they are described to be in the self-help and popular media literature, studies do show that they are generally less overoptimistic than men. This is good news because it enables them to understand how people see them and gives them the capacity to spot gaps between where they want to be and where they are. People who see themselves in a more critical way than others do, are better able to prepare, even if it means overpreparing, and that is a great way to increase your skills and performance.
Motivate through change. 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 coercion of rewards and fear of punishment, more attributed to men. Since transformational leadership is linked to higher levels of team engagement, performance, and productivity, it is a crucial path to developing a leaders’ performance. Women win people’s hearts and souls, leading with both empathy and supportive love, as opposed to demanding employees know, and while nurturing a change in beliefs rather than behaviors, they develop as leaders.
Love your people along with yourself. It is very hard to turn a group of people into a high-performing team when your main focus is yourself. People who see leadership as a exalted career destination and individual success are too self-centered to foster their teams’ welfare and unlock their subordinates’ possibilities. Imagine a person who is only interested in being a leader because they are chasing a bigger paycheck, the corner office, a more senior title, or any form of status. Clearly, they will be inherently less interested in making others better; their only goal is to be more successful themselves. Women are generally not so self-focused and are more likely to lead in a nurturing loving way. In essence it is about letting go of a more self-centered management principle.
As we pointed out before empathy with love is the key. We have told women that they are too kind and caring to be leaders, but the notion that someone who is not kind and caring can lead effectively is at odds with reality. We are not living in old-fashioned times. Twenty-first century leadership demands that leaders establish an emotional connection with their followers, and that is arguably the only reason to expect leaders to avoid automation. Indeed, while AI will capture the technical and hard-skill elements of leadership, so long as we have humans at work, they will crave the validation, appreciation, and empathy that only humans, not machines, can offer.
Focus on elevating others. Female leaders have been proven to be more likely to coach, mentor, and develop their direct reports. They are true talent agents, using feedback and direction to help people grow. This means being less transactional and more strategic in their relationship with employees, and it also includes the openness to hire people who are better than themselves, because their egos are less likely to stand in the way. This enables them to unlock other people’s potential and promote effective cooperation on their teams. Without this love for the team, the members will not be as inspired to contribute.
Do not say “I am humbled.” Be humble. We have been asking for humble leaders for 20 years or so, but we keep moving toward ones who are arrogant and self-absorbed. There are recognized 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, consider other people’s perspectives, and be willing to change to improve. Perhaps the issue is not that women who can be loving leaders do not recognize their talents. This must change, for humility, empathy and love are critical drivers of leadership effectiveness in both men and women. Loving women, these are the reasons why you should have been leaders already and why you should demand what you deserve now.
Read more on Gender or related topics Leadership and Leadership & Managing people
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is the Chief Talent Scientist at ManpowerGroup, a professor of business psychology at University College London and at Columbia University, and an associate at Harvard’s Entrepreneurial Finance Lab. He is the author of Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? (and How to Fix It), upon which his TEDx talk was based. Find him on Twitter: @drtcp or at www.drtomas.com.
By Dr. Edward Goold – Business and Marketing Consultant
Edward Goold has consulted on the development of a myriad of business projects and entities around the globe. Edward teaches classes in International Business, Management, Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Project Management and trained Realtors in real estate courses and helped in training openings for restaurants. He has taught at the undergraduate, graduate level and doctoral level. He currently oversees the evaluation of doctoral level business plans for dissertations being written by aspiring Doctor of Business candidates at San Diego University. He launched a real estate career which led him to owning a one-stop shop real estate company. He oversaw agents offering loans, property for sale, business opportunities, property management and commercial multi-unit property sales. In the Hospitality Industry, he did several trainings, apprentice, restaurant management, chef and owned his own wholesale focused catering company. Goold has a doctorate from United States International University with a major in International Business and a minor in Strategic Management. He also obtained a Master’s in Business Administration from Cal State University Long Beach with an emphasis in Management. An inspiration from his love of education, culminated in co-founding the Global Leadership Association where he is Professor Emeritus, teaching business programs. Gblcenter.org