What Women Bring to Leadership

What do women bring to leadership? It’s the topic of extensive research, discussion, and interesting new insights.

Studies show that organizational climates benefit from women serving in management and leadership. Organizational climates that are open to and appreciate the benefits of diversity find that employees are happier and more likely to stay.

Women tend to care about developing others around them, which makes them particularly powerful mentors for women and men alike. Many of these traits make women effective in leveraging talent. Women contribute to increased productivity and higher team performance. Other studies suggest women contribute to teams being more considerate of each member and making more ethical decisions. Including women often enhances innovation.

These and other findings are highlighted in Utah Women & Leadership Project’s Research & Policy Brief #5, released last week. In the brief titled, “Why Do We Need More Women Leaders in Utah,” Dr. Susan Madsen cites a host of studies that identify benefits organizations realize when they include women in upper management and leadership positions.

Interestingly, women exhibit different leadership characteristics than men – not necessarily better or worse, merely different. For example, women tend to be more holistic rather than linear thinkers. They usually look for win-win instead of win-lose solutions. They ask different questions.

A series of recent studies showed that organizations that have more women in management and on board, on average, attain better financial results than do other organizations. Another study concluded that there are “positive correlations between gender diversity on boards and improvements in corporate governance and financial performance” (see brief for source).

Dr. Madsen summarizes, “Gender is an important consideration in crafting the composition of management and leadership within groups, organizations, and other social entities. Bringing together the strengths of both men and women can result in more effective, productive, and innovative teams and organizations.”

Check out the following link to read more about this and other briefs: http://www.uvu.edu/uwlp/docs/uwlpbrief2015no5.pdf

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