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Women vs. Men in leadership?

This post was previously edited by a moderator.
There is been a lot of talk lately about diversity and the gender pay gap lately. This article crossed my path and a couple quotes really piqued my interest:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/12/kevin-oleary-women-ceos_n_7261826.html


"They're so advanced at managing their time -- raising a family, taking care of kids, doing whatever else is necessary -- and doing something else, in addition to that, like running a business," he said. "So maybe it's their ability to manage time that is really taking them ahead in running small, large and mid-cap businesses."



"I think being a mom and running a successful household, having the qualities where you're good at nurturing are really key to running a good business. Because if you're nurturing you can inspire and you can develop your employees," Noonan said. "And if you have employees that listen to you and like you and are inspired by you, they are better workers, and I think you're more successful."



Do you think Mr. Wonderful is right about a difference between how men and women lead and interact?

22 Replies

Igor Chernyy
9
0
Igor Chernyy Entrepreneur
Senior Cloud Architect at Lyric Labs
Personally I think leadership is largely an individual quality. While gender role in our society has a huge effect on how you develop at an individual, at the end of the day it is an accumulation of all the factors that make or break a leader.

I have seen good and bad leaders on both sides of the gender. I think profiling individual leadership style based on their gender is rather shortsighted and close minded.
Rob Mitchell
0
0
Rob Mitchell Entrepreneur
Senior Java Software Engineer at Direct Commerce
In my experience, good and bad leadership is not really gender based. I've seen both genders for the past 30 years in business and there are some really good ones but lots of lousy ones. Do women and men have different styles? Again, I don't think its gender specific. The old tale that men are more aggressive and hunters etc compared to time-sensitive and great communicators portrayed by women is just that - old tales.
Shingai Samudzi
2
0
Shingai Samudzi Entrepreneur
Founder & CEO at ProjectVision
I think at the executive leadership level - a level that so few actually reach much less excel win - such gender stereotypes are overblown, and even downright nonsense. Female executives have more in common personality-wise with male executives than with your rank-and-file employee.

As an individual contributor/employee, you have more freedom to revert to whatever type you are because your decisions and behaviors don't have as much impact. It's leadership's job to work with the people they have to get the results they need. To be a successful executive, there are certain traits that are almost prerequisite. The ones that spring to mind are ruthlessness, opportunism, competitiveness, focus, passion, and dedication. These are gender neutral qualities.

There's also the problematic nonsense of attributing the "nuturing" quality to women, purely on the basis of raising families. Men don't raise kids or manage households? You can only nurture in the context of children and family? Only men focus on business/career while leaving the spouse to handle the household? There are so many exceptions to the traditional stereotypes among executives, particularly among small-mid cap and startups, that I just don't see the point of beating this dead horse.

And as much as we keep beating this gender pay gap dead horse (in which people still drag out that discredited 77 cents on the dollar line)Women Now Control Majority of American Wealth

Judit Fabian
2
1
Judit Fabian Entrepreneur
Seasoned Finance Professional
I think throwing around words, such as nurturing, can really be misleading as to the meaning of the article. Nurturing doesn't mean being cutsie and over-sensitive or more cuddly (in a non-physical way). Having been a mother gives you a more primal experience in every aspect of your life. When you have children you get a deeper experience of what matters and less tolerance for nonsense. Having to negotiate on behalf of your child to make sure they are being educated properly and they get the care they deserve gives you a whole new, very primal, dimension on how to manage the relationship with the members of "that village" that surrounds your child. That transfers into management skills as well. It doesn't mean that you say "aww" more often to people and give them more slack, but you learn how to get more value from people, how to appreciate what they have to offer more, which is always a good idea when you manage an organization. And of course, less time for everything really makes you more focused on what is most important.

Singhal, I don't agree with your comment on the "gender gap dead horse". It is not a dead horse, it is a reality for women. I looked at the article you linked as well as the article that was linked to that, and none of them qualify the statement that "women control majority of American wealth". I think they mean that women make more purchasing decisions than men, but I don't see a proper explanation on what it means. Women certainly don't control the financial services or the corporate world, and certainly don't earn more than men by any stretch of the imagination.
Todd Terrazas
0
0
Todd Terrazas Advisor
Co-Founder & CEO at Brainitch - HIRING!
Here is a better article....http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-women-tech-letter-20150514-story.html
Shingai Samudzi
0
0
Shingai Samudzi Entrepreneur
Founder & CEO at ProjectVision
@Judit, The report refers to wealth, not income or consumption. Which is to say financial assets, such as real estate, 401k/retirement accounts, savings accounts, etc. I say that the gender gap when it comes to pay is a dead horse for two reasons: 1) Current trends in college enrollment show that the gender pay gap will resolve itself within a decade due purely to college attendance by gender. Given how the big 5 consulting firms, along with many other corporates, hire big waves of college graduates and then use the up-or-out model for handling attrition, we'll again see shifts in demographics within a decade without any need of progressive policy changes. Healthcare, which is the next Wild West industry, is not averse to female executives, and by numbers is already dominated by women. 2) Even if we take the 77 cents on the dollar to be true, the gap between the average male and female employee is miniscule when compared to gaps in executive pay vs employee pay. I'm talking 23 cent difference per hour vs thousands of dollars per hour difference. We give a disproportionate amount of attention to gender gaps from that standpoint. In your business, if you are overpaying by thousands on one item and overpaying by a quarter for another, to which will you devote the lion's share of your attention?
Judit Fabian
2
1
Judit Fabian Entrepreneur
Seasoned Finance Professional
Shingai, I appreciate a good set of statistics, but completely discrediting what the reality for many women is a bit out of order. Do you really think that women only getting 77% percent of what men get is miniscule? What would happen to your business if 23% of your revenues were cut? I don't think you would call that miniscule. Since you mentioned executive pay, there are far less women executives proportionally than women in the general workforce.

Nobody doubts that things have been improving for women, and I hope for the sake of my daughter that it continues to be so. No doubt that barriers have been broken down in the last 50 years. However, if you walk the executive hallways of large financial institutions, investment funds, women are mostly support staff. If you look at a lot of executive management teams, women are disproportionately underrepresented. I really hope that in my daughter's generation things will look like the way you describe it. Yes, things have gotten a lot better, but they are still not perfect, and the issue is not a dead horse.
Shingai Samudzi
1
0
Shingai Samudzi Entrepreneur
Founder & CEO at ProjectVision
@Judit, For my age group (I'm 28), when comparing apples to apples, it's more like 93 cents on the dollar. Check out the data here: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/12/11/on-pay-gap-millennial-women-near-parity-for-now/ You can see that the pay trends for men and women is converging, and within the next 5 years or so, my age group will basically be on par for median hourly earnings. The reason I say the gender pay thing is a dead horse is that data shows convergence of median hourly pay within the next few years for my generation, the largest generation in today's workforce. Combined with the picture that women own a majority of financial assets, it's a positive picture for women. Sadly, it also shows that convergence is partially due to men getting paid less and less, instead of what you'd hope to see - convergence due to the growth rate of women's salary outstripping that of men. Which gets to my other point - the real problem is executive compensation and the fact that workers are getting less and less of a share of what is a growing pie of corporate profits. Access to executive roles is a different issue. Although, given the demographics, this is not an obstacle just faced by women. Basically, if you aren't male and white/Indian/East Asian your access to executive roles are limited outside of starting businesses that don't need institutional investors. That said, the healthcare industry is notably dominated by women, with many orgs having over 70% female workforces. Needless to say, there are many female execs.
Timothy M Otte
0
0
Timothy M Otte Advisor
Managing Director
I agree that men and women tend towards somewhat different leadership styles (only as a general rule). But my experience is that the most effective leaders (men or women) are able to combine the best qualities of both. Creating a collaborative work environment where employees are encouraged to grow, develop, and take risks - while maintaining an uncompromising attitude about personal accountability and delivering results. I have worked with many good leaders like this - both men and women.
Mary Juetten
0
0
Mary Juetten Entrepreneur
Founder & CEO Traklight.com
I do agree that great leadership is not specific to gender but I do think that years of raising kids and working full-time did give me some great planning and time management skills. It also made me extremely tough in terms of negotiating - raising kids and step-kids, male and female - going to work some days was a break.

@Shingai Samudzi- 77 or 93, it's wrong and there is absolutely no way this is a dead horse. I have worked in the Big 4 (when they were the Big 8) - I was pregnant with my first child at PWC (then PW) and they wanted us to travel weekly cross country for assignments and wondered why I left for a VP job with my largest client in the public sector. Things have changed but until it is 100 percent pay and opportunity for women and men, it is a very real issue.
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