Women in leadership are often forced to run to the gauntlet of receiving a promotion into a precarious position, from where they could be pushed to the abyss, writes Gabriela Salinas.
Much attention has been paid to how female leaders, such as Angela Merkel, Jacinda Ardern, and Sanna Marin, have been particularly adept at managing the current health crisis. Research has also shown that nations led by women outperform, on average, their male-led counterparts in terms of general reputation and net positive influence and that those female-led countries do better in terms of perceptions linked to governance, COVID-19 handling, business and trade, and international relations.
But let’s be clear, much of the recognition has focused on the fact that these successful leaders have been women, not on the actual nuts and bolts of their success. However, the reasons behind the obsessive (to put it gently) media attention on women aside, is it possible that there are gender traits of leadership that can explain this difference in success between female and male leaders?
Dee Dee Myers, former White House Press Secretary, seems to believe so. In her book Why Women Should Rule the World, Myers comments on the Four Cs of women leaders: communication, consensus, creativity, and collaboration. According to Myers, women seem more willing to listen, more interested in building consensus, and slightly more likely to be transformational leaders who collectively set goals and empower their teams to achieve them. These traits are the ones that are particularly effective in leading the way out of a crisis and political leaders and voters alike consider women leaders “to be more pragmatic and results-oriented…less consumed by the constant who’s-up-and-who’s-down scorekeeping aspect of the political game.”