Leading Ladies

1740 Words7 Pages
There is a plethora of approaches when it comes to examining the concept of leadership. One can examine leadership through the lens of theories, either behavioral, trait or contingency theories. Leadership can also be examined through the lens of styles, whether transactional, participative, transformative, charismatic or servant styles. Wren writes “Leadership is a complex phenomenon, involving the constant interaction of three essential elements: the leader, the followers, and the surrounding situation or context. An effective leader must know something about each and how they interact.” (Wren, p. 125). In the section “The Leaders”, Wren compiles readings which focus on the leader, bringing to the forefront issues about traits, behaviours, gender and minorities and how they influence leadership. In this essay, I will examine the issue of gender, specifically whether women lead differently than men. I will compare and contrast Virginia Schein’s conclusions with those of other researchers. Schein begins by elucidating that in our quest to know what makes effective leaders, we have begun to look beyond the theories of traits and behaviour, beyond the contingency theories and have turned our attention to the question of how gender affects leadership. She explains that one view suggests women would lead differently being “oriented toward cooperation, teamwork and concern for others.” (Schein, p. 162) From this point of view, possessing feminine characteristics would be beneficial and thereby increase opportunities for women to access managerial positions. However, she points out, the focus on gender based characteristics is actually counterproductive to promoting equality for women in the workplace as it “perpetuates sex... ... middle of paper ... ...arate gender out as the determining factor influencing leader behaviour from the many other mitigating circumstances and factors in this puzzle. A female leader may lead in one particular way in one context and adapt to another way in different circumstances. I think female leaders have the capacity to lead differently than male leaders. Whether they choose to or not is another matter. Works Cited Lowen, L. (nd). About.com:women's issue. Retrieved July 25, 2010 from http://womensissues.about.com/od/intheworkplace/a/WomenLeaders.htm Rosener, J. (1995).Ways Women Lead. In T. Wren, The leader's companion (pp. 161-167) New York: The Free Press. Schein, V.(1995).Would Women Lead Differently? In T. Wren, The leader's companion (pp. 149-160) New York: The Free Press. Yukl, G. (2009). Leadership in organizations. (pp. 448-453) Prentice Hall.
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