Other Women May be the Most Critical of Female Leaders

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New research finds balance is the key to effective leadership

Skyline Group International

We have spent a lot of time developing feminine qualities in our male leaders, but we have ignored developing masculine traits in female leaders.

Skyline Group International (http://www.skylineg.com/), a global provider of scalable coaching solutions, has released new research that finds female leaders need more support -- especially from other women -- to develop a more balanced approach to leadership.

In conjunction with the Organizational Intelligence Institute, Skyline Group surveyed 1,012 men and women with four or more years in the workplace, ranging from individual contributors to CEOs, to learn how gender-based behaviors are expressed and perceived in the workplace.

Among 28 leadership competencies studied, men and women agreed that there is a significant and recognizable gender continuum on 27 of them. For each skill, there is a feminine and masculine expression, and which one leaders use in different situations impacts how effective they are and how they are viewed by their peers.

While masculine and feminine expressions of leadership qualities are different, one isn’t necessarily better than the other. Respondents rated more than 70 percent of leadership competencies, both masculine and feminine expressions, as equally effective. Additional highlights from the survey include:

  • Professionals have a significantly lower perception of leadership effectiveness when women express the masculine behavior in 57 percent of the competencies measured.
  • Only women rate other women as less effective when they express the masculine version of 43 percent of the competencies.
  • Men were perceived as less effective when expressing the feminine approach in just 39 percent of competencies.
  • Both men and women agree that the feminine expression of emotional control -- acknowledging emotions and appropriately expressing them -- is more than 40 percent more effective than the masculine version -- ignoring emotions and holding them in.

“We have spent a lot of time developing feminine qualities in our male leaders, but we have ignored developing masculine traits in female leaders,” said Thuy Sindell, founder and managing partner at Skyline Group. “So when we see female leaders express traits associated with males, we tend to be highly critical and push her back toward the feminine expression -- and this pushback can be even stronger among other women.

“But what we really need are balanced leaders. Both men and women need to possess masculine and feminine traits and use them appropriately to be highly effective leaders. Women who typically take a more masculine approach could be more effective by adopting more feminine behaviors, and vice versa.”

To download the full report, go to http://www.skylineg.com/resourcespotlight.

About Skyline Group
Skyline Group is the leading provider of scalable leadership solutions with a foundation built upon decades of executive coaching with some of the most recognized companies in the world. We are revolutionizing the leadership development industry with our C4X coaching platform. C4X is the only coaching solution that gives you the ability to develop all of your leaders consistently and systematically from onboarding to executive development. C4X combines a flexible technology platform (integrated assessment, content, metrics, and coach management system) with the personalized impact and connection of 1:1 coaching. Learn more at
http://www.SkylineGroup.com and http://www.C4X.com.

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Heather Huhman
Skyline Group International