Thursday, January 16, 2020

Leaderships: Gender and Characteristics Essay

Leader from different gender can bring good and bad to organization. However, studies shows bad and good leader can be from both male and female leaders. From the follower’s perspective, there were no significant indicators shows either male or female leaders is the worst or good leader (Singh P., Nadim A.& Ezzedeen S.R, 2012) In recent years, more and more women becoming a leader in organization, here in Malaysia itself, Bank Negara Malaysia is led by a women. This topic, Leadership style and gender had become interesting and most intensely studied in the field of Leadership. The purpose of this articles is to identify leaderships styles by different gender and what are the characteristic identified as a good or bad leaders for each gender. Some characteristic may share by both gender and some may be uniquely to one gender. By identifying these criteria we should be able to further identify which styles significant for each. Literature Review Leadership in organization is defined as a process of influencing the activities of an organized group in its effort toward goal setting and goal achievement (Stogdill, 1950). By the definitions, we can firmly confirm that either male or female can be a leader which the long belief that leadership effectiveness equates with masculinity and being male (Eagly & Karau, 2002). Gender differences in organization leadership’s style is still full of ambiguity and paradox despite the number of studies done to address the topic. There are still unanswered questions (Moran, B. B., 1992). Further study in gender differences in leadership style were further studied by Eagly and Johnson (1990). The findings indicates that women were more participative or democratic compared to men. Men were more directive or autocratic than women. Contingency theory suggest men and women use different approaches to leaderships, women focus on social and emotional concerns and being supportive of their members whereas men are more task oriented (Gray, 1992). This two characteristics, referred as democratic and autocratic leadership styles. Traditional leadership models and expectations are still in place, presenting challenges for women in such roles. An exploration of gender stereotypes about leadership serves as a foundation for positing new leadership definitions and strategies for successful negotiation of leadership roles. In the Malaysia, career expectations for both women and men have shifted over time. If women are in professions in which leadership is expected, additional concerns related to this pressure may be raised. C. West and Zimmer- man (1987) suggested that gender is in fact an action that allows individuals to ascribe meaning to daily functions and describe the way that specific gender roles enable and enhance certain functions. Bem (1974) began the discussion on gender in the late 1970s and presented a gender continuum. She suggested that androgyny is the sought-after perspective to highlight the best of a person’s masculine and feminine sides, rather than the traditionally prescribed focus on gender roles for men and women. The androgynous approach is meant to liberate men and women to more freely express themselves and their masculine and feminine qualities. Discussion Traditional perspectives and gender roles may be denigrated by some and expected by others. Thus, the female leader is left in a quandary. As gender, an issue worthy of regard, has received more attention, gender’s role in career transitions, career choice, and career success has been studied. Learning how to be a leader may present yet another challenge for female leader. Considered within the framework of feminism, mentoring itself may be counter to ideals of equality by virtue of the imbalance of power inherent in the relationship. However, such an assumption is based on the traditional notion of mentoring relationships in which there is a teacher and a student. Wary of being perceived as having a separatist attitude, many women tacitly agree to â€Å"play the game,† whose rules were made by the men who typically held the power, and attempt to get ahead professionally by following the traditionally male-oriented routes to success. Other women may feel marginalized by this perspective and fear that they will not be able to get ahead without sacrificing family, relationships, or their personal well-being. Many men are faced with an even greater challenge to uphold the masculine gender role expectation to be career-driven and success-oriented, when in fact they may prefer to spend more time with family, friends, and generally nurturing themselves and their relationships (Staggenborg, 1998). Through historical examples and traditional organization leadership, women may receive the message that assuming leadership means they must sacrifice in other areas of their life. Perhaps the definitions and portrayal of leadership are in need of exploration to address their inherent challenges to different gender. Examining traditional definitions of leadership, leadership styles, and the role of gender in leadership provides a foundation for understanding these challenges and creates a platform for opportunities for reform and support. J. D. West, Osborn, and Bubenzer (2003) suggested three leadership dimensions: context, vision, and action. Context involves exploration of the population or task, vision reflects work to achieve an intended goal, and action moves people and process toward change and improvement. Leadership requires one to be an advocate for a profession, a cause, or a task (J. D. West et al., 2003). Similarly, Borders and Shoffner (2003) defined leaders as individuals who are change agents, social activists, and catalysts in their disciplines. In the counseling profession, leaders may be in various positions and serve myriad functions. Given these functions, leadership may be a sought-after quality. The degree to which a daily work is construed as fulfilling a leadership role may be a reflection of the profession’s definition. Leadership Styles It is perhaps the manner in which one leads that distinguishes style and perception of ability. Collaborative, transformational, and context-driven leadership styles are inherently geared toward stereotyped interpersonal leadership styles attributed to women. At odds with the traditional view of how women should behave are the characteristically male leadership styles that are driven by authoritarianism and swift decision making. A qualitative study of eight female leaders suggested that women’s leadership attributes and behaviors are actually an interaction between personal, interpersonal, and professional domains (Black & Magnuson, 2005). Black and Magnuson (2005) highlighted authenticity, compassion, and vision, respectively, with the three domains they identified. It might even be suggested that the traditional hierarchical model of leadership, challenged by feminist efforts to equalize power (Humble et al., 2006), runs counter to the actual lived experience of women’s leadership. An individual’s leadership style reflects a unique combination of personality traits and professional goals and vision (Black & Magnuson, 2005). It is assumed that leadership style will correlate with success. Yet, the myriad books describing leaders across disciplines do not advocate a specific leadership style (e.g., J. D. West et al., 2003). Leadership Theory: The Role of Gender Leadership, by implication, suggests power. Yet, power comes in many forms and, historically, addresses issues of oppression. Dimensions of race, gender, and class have been conduits of oppression. Gender has not been fully explored within the context of oppression and may have a place in discussions of hierarchy and power (Murray, 2006). Stepping into a leadership role can be a means of exerting power over traditionally oppressed groups or, conversely, a means of reacting to one’s own history of oppression and thereby exerting one’s first experience with power. Multiple cultural identities have challenged the stereotypes of leadership. For example, Bradley (2005) discussed the traditional stereotypes for professional African American women as either â€Å"Mammy† or â€Å"Sapphire,† referencing instead the nurturing and strength they bring to their professional roles. There are penalties for holding professional roles that by nature do not fit with the stereotypes of African American women, including criticism by other. Traditional masculine and feminine traits are stereotyped in terms of leadership potential. Women in leadership positions are often expected to demonstrate typical masculine traits such as decisiveness, authority, and directness. Women are perceived to work from a care and relational orientation, and these traits may be inconsistent with the traditional concept of leadership (Gilligan, 1982). However, concepts of patriarchal power and hegemonic masculinity challenge women to uphold traditional gender role expectations (Coleman, 2003). Participants in a qualitative study of female head teachers in England and Wales found advantageous ways to step outside of the male role (Coleman, 2003). Several participants in this study discussed using â€Å"feminine wiles† and having different interactions with men to achieve their professional functions. Whether decisiveness, authority, and directness are indeed reserved for men and masculine behavior is a multilayered question that addresses surface behaviors and, more deeply, effective leadership styles. There are distinct challenges for women who wish to assume leadership positions, either by choice or by nature of their abilities.. The profession must move beyond leadership stereotypes to which female leaders may conform and promote the strengths of each individual. Similarly, consistent with the profession’s multicultural and social justice emphases, provisions must be made to consider individuals’ personal strengths rather than assume that they must change to effectively lead. Stereotyped gender perspectives are generally unintentional and based largely on personal belief systems and experiences (Staggenborg, 1998). The organization might even benefit from female leaders who, as a way to validate women engaging in similar struggles, publicly share the challenges they face in their effort to balance multiple roles and responsibilities (Steiner, 2006). Mainstream authors (e.g., Warner, 2005) have suggested that organizational and societal infrastructures must change if women and men are to be equally successful. Providing child care at conferences, offering flexible work schedules, and identifying differential markers for success and accomplishment have been recommended (Levitt & Hermon, 2009). Defining leadership in terms of action and style rather than position and power is a framework that organization may endorse. Even exploration of the professional literature can have an impact on this perspective. Exploring gender differences with respect to social context, not simply a male–female dichotomy, may provide greater meaning in the explorations of human development and counseling phenomena (Yoder & Kahn, 2003). My experience working with different gender either as a manager or subordinate, show a different aspect, characteristic and behavior of male and female leader. Most Malaysia male leader are more democratic, task oriented and open minded. Female leader on the other hand, adopt and strict follow the rule leaderships. However, no studies show that women are bad or worst leader. This may due to more male leader compare to women leaders. If both gender are equal in leadership role, some significant finding will can be shows. Currently, more women report to male manager/leader. The perception on good or bad leader will be totally based on their experience. However, some consideration should be make, to just good or bad leader. Some studies show, if leader either male or female which have characteristic as empowering, knowledgeable, inspiring were consider as good leader. If male or female who have characteristic as autocratic, unaspiring, degrading and manipulative is voted as bad leaders. This can be seen in our daily work. Due to challenge, male and female who able to cope with pressure in either work or family life plus with hectic lifestyle today, they will become a good leader. Those who failed to cope with all the pressure, will somehow effecting their leadership’s style. Some studies show that male have strong understand of their good or bad leader compare to women. Even in dyad relationships, male to male, female to female relationship should be good for organizations, but study show, men prefer male as their leaders.

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