In Russia, no career was possible for women before the revolution 1917. Few of them have had any notable success in politics and entrepreneurship. They have often inherited large business assets.
After the death of her husband, Aurora Demidova successfully managed the factories she inherited, Varvara Morozova, a widow, became the head of the Tver cotton fabrics. But these examples are rather an exception to the rules by which the fate of women in those years was only the birth and upbringing of children, home furnishing, service of men, «owners» of life.
This state of affairs did not suit everyone, and with the development of capitalism in Europe the movement of women for their rights, against discrimination in all spheres of life began. They were tired of being treated unfairly as a lower class. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the suffragettes held rallies with slogans about gender equality and sought leadership positions in science, politics, and business.
Traditional Models of Leadership
A leader is someone who can take responsibility and lead a group of people towards a common goal. Leadership ideas become a priority for many. Traditional models rely on hierarchy in communication. The system is constructed in such a way that power reveals status.
The leader is at the top of the hierarchical ladder and makes key decisions. They descend where a man is required to obey the rules set at the top without question, an iron discipline. Such models of leadership are more typical for men when ideas are cultivated that «the result justifies the means» and «winners are not judged».
However, such an approach was only good in some cases, such as crisis situations where decisions had to be taken quickly or where there was guidance from a more senior manager.
Male And Female Leadership
About 50 years ago, there was a belief that a woman could not be a good leader. In the 21st century public opinion began to shift towards gender equality, and female leaders began to emerge in the management of various companies. Twelve of Russia’s two hundred largest private companies are headed by women. This is, for example, the well-known «Rolf» and Wildberries. Even the owners of large international corporations had changed their attitudes.
In discussing women’s and men’s potential for leadership, scientists in various disciplines agreed that women were less likely to be leaders in any field. This situation is largely the result of stereotypes about the role of females in society. Although psychological studies show greater leadership potential in women.
In 2011, research by Jack Senger and Joseph Falkman, business development experts, revealed that women do have excellent leadership and soft skills. It is not only the traditionally «female» qualities: the ability to build healthy productive relationships, the ability to motivate employees during presentations, and the focus on customer satisfaction.
To the surprise of researchers, women have proved to be more results-oriented than men, besides, they are ready to take initiatives. In the past, these qualities have traditionally been attributed to men. They have only outpaced women in their ability to build development strategies. It can be concluded that women are capable of being good managers because they can more effectively influence the outcome.
Differences Between Male And Female Management
Women’s and men’s styles of management differ in that the former is more focused on human relationships and the latter on a specific task. One can say that the man «creates a team» and manages it. The woman «builds a family», and makes sure that everyone is comfortable in it. This is how a leader acts. This is usually a long-term relationship building and a more detailed approach to solving problems during business presentations.
In today’s business community, the establishment and maintenance of relationships with partners, the ability to find common ground, and to negotiate and make decisions are valued, taking into account all the opinions and needs of others. In such circumstances, women leaders are more effective because of their flexibility, openness in communication and attention to detail.
As a result of the long-standing dominance of male leaders in business, we have acquired a society with many challenges, ranging from environmental problems to increased levels of stress in people. Can we do business and be good in public speaking with empathy, kindness, creativity, and mutual aid? It turns out that it is if, along with those qualities, a leader has strategic thinking and decisions are based on logic rather than on emotion.
Many works of modern researchers and practitioners are dedicated to this, for example, the book «Power of Shakti. Uniting Women’s and Men’s Energy in Business». The authors, marketer Rajendra Sisodia and transformational techniques specialist Nilima Bhat, explain that in today’s world, a successful business will emerge, led by one combining the principles of male and female leadership.
It is rare in life to find a leader who harmoniously carries both male features such as assertiveness, commitment, activism, rigidity in defending his interests, and female such as care of employees, quick flexible mind, ability to adjust to changed conditions, attention to detail. But a modern businessman, especially in times of crisis, needs to work on developing the qualities he lacks. Then he can be a real leader and manage people well.
Click here to learn more about Voice&Leadership training