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01/29/2013

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Going back to the original question of do women make better leaders, I think that generalizing women over men will get us nowhere. Like different races and ethnicities, being prejudice toward one group just because of who they are is not the way to answer this. Do some women make better leaders? Sure, some do. I don't think we can across the board say Yes nor No. Some women, and men alike, who show the potential of being a good leader, should be mentored and coached by someone who can teach and guide them through the right channels. We've come a long way to accepting women in leadership positions and moving women up the corporate ladder. I believe that somen women can be effective leaders given the opportunity and guidance to help them grow.

Although the idea of the blinded job interviews is a creative idea of "masking" the problem of gender biases during hiring practices, it's only masking/band aiding the issue. What ever happened to hiring the best qualified individual???

I enjoyed Sean's post about women in general across the globe; how incredibly different they are seen or represented dependent upon the culture/religious/traditional practices. Not sure there will ever be a general neutral belief widespread in any of these countries. It raises the question that if they were to incorporate gender neutral acceptance in these places, would it change the culture/religion/tradition so much that they lose sight of the purpose or origin?

Liz brought up an interesting issue, the concern about hiring a mother because “she wouldn't be as committed to it”. By what form of measurement does he use to validate employees’ commitment? Who’s to say his level of commitment is equal to hers or anyone else in the organization? The Program Manager is more focused on the probability of what she can’t do vice what she can.
Maybe if we put more emphasis on people’s capabilities we would promote more productivity.

The same way as trying to keep a car on a line, sometimes the driver tends to over steer to the other side making the vehicle reach the other edge of the road. This is what happened with the whole equality issues. In an attempted to bring equality to the work force (after centuries of women discrimination), we decided to ignore the differences between a man and a woman. Anything on the extremes is bad. Ignoring our differences is an extreme.

In my opinion both have the capacity to be great leaders. Women in leadership in my organization are well respected; they take initiative and are always striving for results, they tend to build better teams and think more accurately about the resources needed to accomplish a given task. With good mentorship and guidance any person has the capacity to become a good leader. A good leader regardless of gender will always have followers.

Katie & Liz
Although I completely agree that a blind interview is simply masking the issue, the best qualified individual should be hired for the position regardless of gender. This may also be a case of personal biases infecting the decision making process as well. The numbers of women in the labor pool, with dependent children, has grown tremendously over the last four decades. “74.9 percent of unmarried mothers with children under 18 years old were in the labor force, compared with 69.1 percent of married mothers.” (WOMEN IN THE LABOR FORCE: A DATABOOK; Feb 2013). This data was collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and proves that well over half of the women in the workforce are likely to have child/children. Many organizations, acknowledging that the best qualified for the position may be a woman and she may, indeed, have children, have found that it is cost effective and keeps productivity up when they accommodate these valued members of the workforce. For example Aflac, USAA, and Atlantic Health are just a few organizations who have accommodated this labor pool one of the ways is by having on-site daycare. I have provided the links below.

http://www.bls.gov/cps/wlf-databook-2012.pdf

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/best-companies/2012/benefits/child_care.html

It's time for women to be a leader. The society still isn't friendly about the women. They think that women can't run because of the gender. In the past, men didn't think women didn't need to work since they belonged in the house and take care of their kids. Today, it's a great opportunity to prove the world that the women can operate. The world also need a female role model in any fields. They can impact on other countries. We need more exposure on the others who wish to operate in any fields. It's not about genders anymore. It's about the humans

The biological differences between women and men impact roles (leadership roles). It is because of our differences that the discussion needs to be constant. Every step towards equality must be vigilantly guarded. The femenist movement started way before the 70's and did not end there.

On October 2012, Sesame Workshop executive vice president and CMO Sherrie Westin said,"I think there is also that element of choice where women are struggling to balance home and work. And I think often the reason there's not more of those women CEOs is not because they aren't able, not because they haven't been offered, but because at certain times they've decided they have to be in a position that allows more flexibility and choice."

What do you think "flexibility and choice" means?

When I think about Oscar's posting is it really true, that women have not been offered CEO positions or is it because for so many years that culturaly is has been accepted thet women are not qualified to lead Fortune 500 companies. WHen dealing with cultural diversity, I think that many companies are not yet ready to embrace women in leadership roles. Anyway until corporate America is ready to make a cultural change, you will not see more women in CEO roles. Food for thought!!!

As a manager in a large firm that employees a great deal of females it is vital to my organization to have females in management. Even of more importance is the time spent mentoring and learning from each unique situation that arises. I find that I often learn just as much from them and the female prospective. I do find that females in leadership are often harder and more demanding on other female employees than maybe I would have been. I certainly would not have a problem working for a female CEO and I believe we will see more and more of it in the near future.

Oscar, you bring up a valid point. I don't believe that it is the lack of women being qualified to fill the roles of CEO's it is the decision they are consciously making to have the flexibility within their work life and home. Although the numbers of mothers within the workforce are growing it doesn't deter from the fact that they want to be able to attend their children, recitals, sport events, etc. the choice they have to make is whether or not it is the proper time in their lives to put their careers first, or continue to have an effective role at home and in the work place.

I believe that both genders should seek advice from each other and not just women. A true leader whether man or woman should be able to diagnose each of his team members strengths and weaknesses and work with these to develop an effective leadership strategy that will propel the organization to greater heights. I do disagree with your statement about men and women's brains being wired differently. I believe we all are born with a different perspective of the world and its surroundings, how we think is just one of those things we develop and continue to change as we grow. For the most part, if you conduct an experiment and introduce a child in an environment that is populated by one gender or dominated by one gender that child whether male or female will think more like the dominant gender.

Okay. Lets see what anyone thinks about this comment. I think that given the state of our economy, I think that maybe a change in leadership is needed and maybe it is indeed time for a woman to be President of the United States! With all the problems that the economy has endured over the last 6 years, maybe it is time for a leader with a different perspective. I for one would be ready for a woman to lead our nation. Women have made inroads in industry, let them have a chance at the big prize. Maybe men are afraid that they can do a better job? What do you think???????????????

Jaime G.
I agree, at my current organization a greater percentage of leaders are women. In fact, the director and assistant director are both women. I have to say they do their job very well and as in your organization they are well respected, manage, treat and train their subordinates with respect and get the job done overall. What I have observed from these to women is their incredible work ethic; many times they are the first in the office and the last to leave. Great responsibility rests on their shoulders and as far as I have seen they do an amazing job in carrying all that responsibility with dignity and respect. In my opinion, a great leader shows integrity and delivers what is promised whether male or female. I would choose a female leader with all the above traits over a male leader that lacked the aforementioned traits in an instant. And as you said a leader will always have followers, in the case of these two hard working women I am comfortable and proud to say they are my leaders because they have earned it with their hard work.

Chuck,
In response to your question I do not believe that men are scared that a woman would do a better job at being President of the United States nor do I believe that there is such a thing as a president doing a better job than the other. During each presidency, there are issues that arise that are difficult to adjust to than others, be it war, recession, taxes, or even gun control. The same backlash would present itself regardless of who was in office. I have always enjoyed the saying, “you can please most of the people, most of the time, some of the people, some of the time, but none of the people all of the time.”(Abraham Lincoln) Each elected official has their own manner in leading. Men, like women have the potential to be great leaders depending on what their past has proven to them to be an effective and productive method of leading a team that resulted in a positive outcome.

Would I like to see a Female president? Yes, I would. It would show the world that we as a nation have grown and no longer see men as being the superior sex. It will also break the glass ceiling that is perceived to be in place for who can and should be President of the United States.

Chuck Horton,
I personally do not care what gender or race the next President of the United States is as long as he or she gets the job done. Would a woman bring a different perspective to the White House? Yes, but so would another man or person for that matter. I want a President who is not afraid to say no to big corporation when they beg and maybe offer him or her bribes to cut taxes for them or create conflict overseas to generate profit for that organization etc. I want a President that has the best interest of the people of the United States in mind; have integrity, offer transparency in his/her action and those of the appointed leaders. A well informed society that is not weak and engulfed in fear will by itself generate a great president elected by the people for the people but first the people have to be well informed and tolerant of each other and leave petty differences and prejudices aside.

Some of the questions I have for this post are: Do we even have enough data to conclude that one sex is better than the other at being a leader? Does the type of job or activity dictate the gender of the leader?

In my opinion, there is not enough proof or data to determine that a man is a better leader or if a woman is a better leader. Also, there are many variables as there are many leadership traits. Some organizations might need a leader with these traits that this candidate offers it just happens that the candidate is a woman, and vice versa. Gladly, we are making greater strides in gender equality as I have experience on my own with my organization.

Leadership is not gender specific nor gender centric. Gender roles influenced opportunities and created barriers. Gender does play a role in individual or group perspectives. There may or will always be a difference between a man or woman leader. Does it matter? Are the differences so extensive that one would always be bettter than the other?

In response to Oscar's comment of 3/2/13 I would agree that there will always be a difference in the leadership roles of a man or a woman. I think that as time continues that women will play a much larger role in business. As long as they are gievn their just due, and not just put in a role to appease a company's board of directors, we should see more women play a prominant role in leading businesses and maybe leading our country!

In response to Oscar's comment on 18 Feb, although I cannot locate the article or interview, I recall a top executive (female) from a Fortune 500 Company comment that it was rare to see a successful female (in an executive role) who was also a mother. Typically, family commitments fell higher on the priority than personal success.

This might also impact the question if women can be better leaders; if there is a minimal pool of women in leadership roles to query, how are we to know?

As stated before, I don't believe it's a gender question so much as a qualification question. It can be debated over and over again. The question is still purely situational and opinionated dependent upon the audience answering the question.

This is a very interesting and hot topic in society today. As a woman myself I am biased that woman can be better leaders but are they really? I believe everyone has the ability to be a great leader in a specific situation. Each of us regardless of our gender were born with different and unique leadership qualities and those are manifested in different situations. For example perhaps a woman might be a better CEO of a gasoline company if her she grew up with a father who worked in the oil business but a woman who grew up with a mother who was in the retail business would not be. Or if a man grew up with a father who was a doctor he might not be very good at running a gasoline company it is truly all subjective to the person. I do think that women embody numerous qualities that men do not and that is just scientifically how we were created by God. But also in our everyday changing society we are seeing more and more men who are raised to be more in tune with their feelings. I also believe it is subjective to the person and their background etc. For example my husband was raising to multi task and is very emotional where as one of his good friends can not multi task and does not seem the importance in emotion. So which of these men would be a better leader? I would say my husband since he can multi task and is able to read emotion but i is also very specific to the specific type of organization he is running.

Now back to Women being in leaderhip roles. I truly believe 100% it is NECESSARY for a woman to be in every leadership in every business, I am not saying she needs to be CEO but i think as the video said that a woman's perspective can change things in an instant. The company I currently work for started with 5 men and myself. I would continue to give my input and they would never think it was very valuable. Then they brought on another woman who was 40 years old with a lot of experience ( I am 24 years old with little experience) and she gave them the EXACT same advice i did and they loved it. I also think to be a great leader you need to be able to be heard, i dont think they werent listening to me because I was a female but because I was younger.

This is a reply to Nicole.= from 3/6/13. During my early youth we were taught that men don't cry, show emotion, but must be strong. That worked for a long time, however as I have aged, and my perspectives change, I can see the benefits from both sides. Just like I can see the benefits of women in leadership roles. Sometimes though there might be an individual who might have more esperience and thus be chosen for a leadership role. Somtimes even if a woman is as qualified as a man, I think the good old boy system is still the prefered way that some companies run their business. Right or worng, the owners are the ones who are responsible for who they select to run their company. Maybe one day it won't matter if it is male, or female, the best candidate will be selected.

I have to post a bit of a different perspective here. Do "women" make better leaders? Shouldn't the question be "Does THIS woman make a better leader"? To say women do, or men do, or Asians do is playing right into the very stereotypical and generalizing mindset that people scream out against. To say, with a blanket, that any set or subset or people make better leaders is equal to saying that a set or subset of people DO NOT make better leaders. Either is at best presumptive. Just a thought...

You are obviously male with that point of view. Women need to be given a chance.

I believe that an individual woman can be a better leader than a man, but this specific woman could also be a better leader than a different woman. I do not think it is fair to state either men or women make better leaders than the other sex because that is not a fair assessment. Women definitely have different characteristics that make them unique and perhaps better suited for leading a group than men and vice versa. Leaders should be chosen based on skill, expertise, what s/he can bring to the mission and organization, aside from other classifications.

In reference to Courtney's post on 3/8, I totally agree with your thoughts on this subject. Finding the right leader for a certain situation is not as easy as just looking for the best man or the best woman. It needs to be based on a person's attributes and how those traits will influence a group of people and help them grow and produce for a company. A team needs to be diverse, consisting of people from different cultural backgrounds and each gender, in order to even have the opportunity to reach its full potential. The different perspectives that come from men, women, and various cultures are valuable assets and should be sought after within every management team.

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