“What an asinine question… People can be good leaders, male or female. As a generalization, women are good at process, men are goal orientated but I’ve witnessed the very opposite too. I’ve witnessed bad leadership from women and worse from men; too much process and too macho is dysfunctional. Good leaders depend on their staff to follow them and that’s the trick. But this is a very silly question and some of the answers (maybe including mine) are sillier too.”
That comes from a LinkedIn discussion asking Do Women Make Better Leaders?
From another participant: “There is no doubt that men and women are different, but different is not better or worse, just different. Regardless of gender, a couple of key elements of effective leadership are self awareness and the ability to communicate and inspire. Give me a leader who understands themselves and can communicate and inspire me, I will follow regardless of gender.”
As a provocateur myself, however, I do agree with one participant who said that all questions have the power to unlock new ways of seeing. (Even those that may seem asinine.) I just hope that the new lenses we’re using take us down the path of better understanding the qualities of all leaders, and that we can finally stop focusing on gender differences (which many use to mean better or worse without saying that directly).
Here is one set of data for that discussion: The Rise of Women in Tech from MBAOnline.com. A larger version is available here.