Masculine leadership models need to be challenged to get the most out of the skills female leaders can bring to the boardroom.
That’s the view of Dr Sam Collins, CEO and founder of the women’s leadership organisation Aspire, whose latest report of 1,200 professional women found that 78% were considering leaving the corporate world - turning away from an environment where they don’t feel encouraged to make a difference and play to their natural style.
The report found that more than 40% of respondents preferred collaborative leadership, working with others to achieve results, compared to the solo ‘superman’ model.
The report’s authors assert that leadership styles in corporate companies are more akin to ‘masculine’ leadership traits, such as authoritative, assertive, command and control. In contrast, almost 60% of women associated themselves with management characteristics including democratic, collaborative, nurturing, calm, and egoless.
Speaking to Executive Grapevine, Dr Collins said that there were benefits for corporations to encourage female leadership.
“Female leaders working collaboratively are also far more likely to support and nurture talent right along the pipeline,” she said. “That style of management motivates and retains employees, but crucially it could also be key to helping other women to reach their career goals.”
Aspire advocates businesses recognise that management teams can’t – and shouldn’t – adhere to one single style of leadership: there are multiple credible ways of managing projects and people that deliver exceptional results.
Dr Collins continued “Corporate culture is changing, but it’s taking too long. Women shouldn’t feel they need to conform to the traditional mould of a leader: instead they should drive the change themselves by being themselves and encouraging others to do the same. If this can’t be done in the current organisation, find a more enlightened one or start your own.
“A collaborative leader is courageous, intuitive, resilient and committed to making a difference through powerful relationships – precisely the type of leader organisations should be targeting.”
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