Do men and women lead differently? Researchers have found that women tend to have a distinct leadership style that shapes how they run their teams. Specifically, these studies show that women tend to use what’s called the transformational leadership style.
Transformational Leadership: Transformational leaders aim to enhance the motivation, morale and job performance of followers by working with teams to identify needed change, to create a shared vision and to guide through inspiration.
Women in leadership can leverage their natural inclination toward transformational leadership by using the following strategies.
#1. Avoid Being Transactional
The opposite of transformational leadership is transactional leadership. Picture the boss who sits in his or her office giving orders and receiving progress updates from his or her employees, but rarely engages with them on a personal level. They’re all about the results — sometimes forsaking personal development.
Key tactics of transactional leaders include:
- They often remain uninvolved to let their teams focus on their work.
- They wait until problems become severe before they step in take charge of the situation.
- They usually only engage with subordinates to give orders and hold them accountable for making mistakes and/or failing to meet expectations.
Researchers have found that women need to show strength and sensitivity. The transactional style can be detrimental to female bosses. This is why women need to focus more heavily on the transformational leadership style because it allows them to set high expectations, while personally helping the members of their teams.
#2. Banning "Bossy", Embrace "Boss"
From a young age, girls are taught that when they speak up and take charge, they are bossy, but boys are called leaders for behaving in the exact same ways. This phenomenon plays a huge role in why women are significantly less likely to pursue leadership opportunities than men. Luckily, there is a movement to change this.
Leaders such as Sheryl Sandberg and Beyoncé are calling out society for persuading girls that there is something wrong with them for speaking up. They are making an effort to ensure ambitious girls are labeled as the leaders they are and not written off as bossy.
- Banish “bossy” from your vocabulary.
- Highlight the difference in expectations with your team.
- Spread the knowledge — share this post and video with your team.
As we learned, female bosses already are naturally inclined to verbally communicate. This is the key to success. When your team feels comfortable being transparent with you, you’re less likely to have to deal with major problems because they feel safe coming to you for help the moment issues start to arise.
Remind your team why their work matters. Find something that makes each and every one of your team member’s work meaningful. Aim to make each member of your team feel as though they contributing to the company’s success.
As women, we have a tremendous opportunity to be incredible bosses and managers. All we have to do is leverage our natural female strengths and put them into action.