How a More Feminine Leadership Style Will Enable Your Success

woman in futuristic cockpit The Athena Doctrine: How Women (And The Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule The Future by John Gerzema and Michael D'Antonio, a new leadership book exploring the traits that make an ideal leader in today’s world, concludes that the qualities traditionally considered feminine make leaders successful. PADGETT BUSINESS SERVICES®, your small business financial services partner, has created a guide to the behavioral leadership traits needed to succeed in today’s world.

Gerzema and D’Antonio asked 32,000 people in 13 countries to label 125 traits as masculine, feminine or neither. They then asked a different set of 32,000 people in 13 countries to define which traits were most important to successful leaders. Some interesting findings from their research include:

  • 81 percent said leaders require a combination of male and female traits.

  • 84 percent said, "Today a successful career requires greater collaboration and sharing credit with others."

  • 77 percent said, "It’s more important to be practical than stick to one’s ideologies."

  • 81 percent said, "Power today is about influence rather than control."

The top traits found to be the most important for leaders to possess included resilience, decisiveness, confidence, empathy, patience, vulnerability, humility, inclusiveness, generosity and balance. The traits of resilience, decisiveness and confidence were labeled as male traits, while empathy, patience, vulnerability, humility, inclusiveness, generosity and balance were labeled female. Therefore, the majority of people believe that leaders necessitate a mix of male and female personality traits to lead effectively.

The shift away from male-trait dominated leadership is caused by several factors, such as transparency, technology, interdependence and sustainability. Due to the recent financial crisis, cynics would typically see businesses willfully ignoring risks to make profits and disregarding the consequences. Because of this, transparency is now seen as a compulsory character trait. Transparency is aided by technology, which increases communication, makes collaboration easier, and furthermore helps create a global community. Interdependence is a fact of business now, as companies create partnerships with customers and vendors in order to stay competitive. This interdependence needs teamwork, flexibility and collaboration. Sustainability is not just environmental; it is also giving back to communities and supporting employees.

The world is changing and in order to succeed leaders need a competitive advantage. Traits such as resilience, decisiveness, confidence, empathy, patience, vulnerability, humility, inclusiveness, generosity and balance embody the equilibrium between traditionally male and female leadership styles that reap the best results in the market today. PADGETT BUSINESS SERVICES® is your partner for all of your small business financial needs, leaving you to concentrate on being the leader of your business.

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