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The World In 2021 And
Beyond Needs More
Women’s leadership takes center stage
as we collectively move forward
By Carol Vallone Mitchell
Women’s leadership has been front and center
over the last tumultuous year. On the global
stage, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern,
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, German Chancellor
Angela Merkel, and Iceland Prime Minister Katrín
Jakobsdóttir have been praised by Forbes and other
media publications for effectively leading their
people through the early stages of the health and
economic crisis of Covid-19.
This is not surprising. Successful leaders are
collaborative leaders and the traits that define
collaborative leadership, such as inclusiveness
and the ability to build connection and trust, are
those stereotypically associated with women.
Organizations did not need a pandemic to realize
that collaborative leaders – those who put ego
aside, involve people with relevant expertise, and
display empathy – are more effective. However, the
monumental challenges of 2020 may have catalyzed
a significant overall shift from traditional command
and-control leadership to a more collaborative
approach. The pressure is on for all leaders to shift to
a more collaborative style; it can’t be just women.
Through my in-depth research and behavioral
analysis of highly successful collaborative leaders
over the last 20 years, I have identified key characteristics
that those leaders have in common.
Initially, my focus was on executive women who lead
successfully, finding that they led collaboratively. I
then turned my attention to effective collaborative
male leaders and found striking similarities and
Women and men who lead collaboratively are
inclusive, culturally adaptive, empathetic, and
nurturing. In order to develop and demonstrate
these characteristics, leaders must cultivate one key
foundational trait: self-awareness which allows them
to recognize their impact on others and adjust to
make others comfortable. This differs by gender.
Women balance assertiveness Gender dynamics
can cause smart, confident women to be seen as
intimidating. Successful women leaders have a keen
awareness of this and adapt how they interact to
make others comfortable. They use humor, empathy,
and interpersonal agility to complement their drive
and professional mastery.
Men temper their egos During their youth and
professional development, men build a resolute
certainty in their abilities and build up their egos.
Leadership Excellence presented by HR.com MARCH 2021 11 Submit Your Articles