Leadership is a wide subject that does not have a constant definition. Many people look at it from different perspectives that include the environment that it’s practiced, the forms that it takes and the people who undertake it. The most debated perspective of leadership is perhaps based on gender regarding the approach that men and women in management take on different scenarios. Because we are naturally oriented in a different way as human beings, men and women take different styles in leadership thus affecting their means of work place communication.
Traditionally, leadership styles were analyzed as democratic, autocratic or laissez-fair styles. As there is advent of technology and information, leadership is now analyzed in a more diverse and innovative way. The current styles include transformational and transactional leadership. The traditional styles were mostly focused on the individuals on top and how they were able to influence their subjects to carry out duties, while the latest styles are analyzed from the basis of motivation, constant change and results. All managers regardless of their gender or educational background have an obligation to take the current leadership approaches.
The question of who communicates better between the men and their female counterparts with these styles performs better arises. The difference in leadership behaviors displayed by each sex becomes the only solution to that question. In a recent research that was undertaken on male and female business executives working on similar conditions revealed an interesting discovery. The analysis was based on two sets of dimensions that were to display the behaviors of the candidates in given scenarios. The sets were namely, ‘task’ versus ‘strategy’ and ‘expressiveness’ versus ‘constraint’. The research had an aim of finding out the different levels of communication of the candidates.
It was discovered that women were more task and result oriented than men because they have an inclination to detail. However, as Beach, (2006) notes men had an upper hand in strategy since they are inclined to a less sentiment or emotional reactions. On the other hand women were found out to be more expressive that men from the initial stages of communication as they are more enthusiastic and emotionally energetic than men. Men have higher constraint ability and were found not to easily open up on information they may posses (Avolio & Bass, 2002).
This activity showed that both men and women can communicate and convey information in an equitable manner but not on an equal basis. According to Avolio & Bass, (2002) men are able to hold the information for some time without giving it out but would wait until an appropriate time to convey it out while it was discovered that women take a softer approach to communicate using both verbal and body language than their male counterparts. According to Professor Alice Eagley business ladies create a business environment of a nurturing and supportive manner than the male counterparts. She further claims that the men have a hierarchical style of leadership that is characteristic with task and punishment oriented but with a higher result on a crisis situation.
Women according to her are more team players with a democratic approach to issue making them more approachable and focused than their male counterparts. However it may be pointed out that these characteristics may change from time to time depending on situations. For instance due to the sentimental nature of the female fraternity sometimes the communication conveyance may be more direct than the male. This is another variable trait that has an effect in the general approach of leaders and the results thereafter.
Every business looks for leaders with an impact of effectiveness and productivity. The social justifications have for along time placed men at a higher preference than their female counterparts. This is continually been proven wrong with more women taking higher educations and jobs in a competitive way. The conditioning that is put in the society makes it harder for more women to rise up and gun for leadership positions. The few ones who manage to achieve those positions have a tusk of proving to the men folk in those firms that they can be able to control and put things together. It’s generally seen that women ‘request’ for services unlike their male counterparts. This perception adversely affects the way they are received by those intended for the messages. However they rectify this notion in most cases by having more interpersonal leadership approach and relationships with the colleagues at work place (Beach, 2006).
Men on the other hand take a more outspoken way of leadership as it’s a generally seen that they are stronger (Wagner.2005). While at workplaces, they may be able to convey more verbally and with finality than women with the same capacity of leadership. However this may sometimes prove not be an effective communication approach in the entire situations. For instance the junior workers may feel demotivated as this approach tends to be of a non-negotiable nature so little contest is expected. The result and punishment oriented approach may be of a negative impact as it exerts pressure on the work making indirect losses to the organization like sabotage and substandard performances.
In conclusion, traditional and modern ways of looking at the issue of leadership exist and have an effect on the men and women in leadership. The leaders, both male and female posses different styles of leadership that have both good and negative parts which shouldn’t be allowed to affect the communication in the workplace negatively.
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