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David Baxter

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Women Make Better Leaders
By Carlin Flora

Females develop a better managerial style than males.

Searching for better leaders? Don't overlook the women in the office. An analysis of 45 leadership studies found that the best bosses are inspirational mentors who encourage underlings to develop their abilities and creatively change their organizations. Women, on average, are more likely than men to enact this "transformational" style.

In this "transformational" management style, managers are more like good teachers than traditional bosses. But the analysis, conducted at Northwestern University, revealed that men are more likely to use a "transactional" management style?doling out punishments for poor performance and rewards for good behavior?or a laissez-faire style, characterized by a basic lack of management. Previous research has shown the transformational style to be most effective, particularly when companies rely on innovation to stay competitive.

"CEOs should level the playing field, and make sure women are given equal opportunities to be managers," says lead author Alice Eagly, a professor of psychology at Northwestern. "The study shows they are not only doing just as well as men, but they are doing better."

Eagly speculates that the transformational leadership style may suit women because it includes nurturing aspects, and women are traditionally socialized to be nurturers. Women who instead use a tough "command and control" leadership style meet with resistance and suspicion from employees, other studies have found.

Women striving for leadership roles may also have to meet a higher standard than men. They may therefore adapt their leadership tactics along the way to fit the more effective transformational style, Eagly says.
 

Benjamin

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One of the best project managers I ever had was a woman. Also one of the worst was a woman. I've found that on average, older people make better managers, male or female.
 

David Baxter

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That's why I added the "?" in the title. I doubt that whether someone is a good or bad manager is based on gender (or age for that matter). I think it's based on personality traits. For example, inscure egocentric people are usually bad managers; controlling people with a need to micro-manage are usually bad managers; people who are good at listening and delegating and who understand that the best way for themselves to look good is to enhance the morale of their staff to get the best out of them are usually the best managers.
 

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