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The topic of leadership has been addressed and applied for millennia. Yet, it is only within the past 80 years that leadership has been a topic of serious discussion. It is important to understand variables relevant to effective leadership. Gender is one such variable that must be examined with regard to optimizing leadership effectiveness.
Women and men have been, are, and should be leaders. Gender must be considered to determine how each leader can reach maximum potential and effectiveness. The present chapter uses this conceptual framework of leadership to discuss how consideration of gender may affect and optimize leadership development and effectiveness. Gender Differences in Different Contexts. Leadership has been a part of human experience since people formed groups to survive threats from the environment, dangerous animals, and other groups of people; work cooperatively to achieve goals beyond the abilities of individuals; and create families and various social groups to satisfy affiliative needs.
Discussions of leaders and leadership appear as far back as Homer's Iliad and in religious texts, including the Old TestamentNew TestamentBhagavad Gitaand Koran.
Essays and discussions of leaders and leadership have appeared during the past several centuries. Most discussions about leaders and leadership from antiquity through the s focused on men, with minimal discussion of women as leaders or gender and leadership.
Social, cultural, and political developments over the past 50 years have made clear that men and women can be effective—and ineffective—leaders and today, men and women are expected to be effective leaders. To optimize leadership effectiveness of men and women, it is important to go beyond consideration of the biological sex of the individual and simplistic generalizations of what makes a male leader versus a female leader successful.
It is important to consider if and how gender relates to leadership. Gender is an individual difference characteristic that is relevant to how people think about themselves, are thought about by others, and act in various situations. Gender, therefore, is relevant to consider with regard to how it relates to leadership effectiveness. The chapter ends with a summary and a conclusion. Since the s, researchers have noted the need to differentiate between sex and gender [ 34 ]. Sex is defined as a biological characteristic that incorporates the anatomical, physiological, genetic, and hormonal variation that exists in species [ 5 ].
The discovery and existence of these various chromosomal arrangements have led to greater understanding of the X and Y chromosomes, their genetic contributions, and have resulted in the expansion of our conceptualization of sex and gender. Bem [ 3 ] defined gender i. Gender, however, consists of much more than the psychosocial ramifications of biological sex.
Gender is a complex phenomenon with many different facets [ 10 ]. Sandra Bem pioneered the Gender Schema Theory in to explain sex typing and gender stereotypes within the society. Bem [ 12 ] proposed that this process begins in childhood. Children learn which behaviors and attributes are associated with each sex and continue to process the information in terms of gender schema.
Bem [ 13 ] suggested that parents should teach a sexism schema so that children recognize when sexist information or practices are occurring. She believed this practice is likely to help prevent children from mindlessly maintaining a particular gender schema and, as a result, will promote positive social change [ 13 ].
Sex typing creates a core gender identity influenced by how one is raised, the media, and other cultural influences. Why do specific gender stereotypes become so ingrained in our societies?
Bem [ 12 ] suggested that the Gender Schema Theory le children, especially during adolescence, to conform to what is culturally defined for Lady seeking real sex Kathryn and females, because it is easier to assimilate society's stereotypically congruent norms. As a process theory, the Gender Schema Theory further solidifies the gender stereotypes within societies.
A heterosexual subschema, defining differences between proper societal benchmarks of masculinity and femininity, encourage the strong gender schema developed in societies. This subschema asserts that men and women should be different from each other and many societies use the heterosexual subschema as the norm.
Men's masculinity and femininity scores remained constant during this broader time frame. Women's androgyny scores ificantly increased since but not sincewhereas men's androgyny scores remained constant. Gender also includes the manner in which individuals interact with each other and the social roles they are expected to fulfill in a society [ 916 ].
In addition, ideas regarding gender are culturally and temporally specific and subject to change. Historically, men's higher social status within many cultures meant that they also have had more opportunities and access to power and resources than women have had and, as a result, men have been afforded more power and influence [ 1718 ]. Who the leader is remains important and is highly relevant to the present discussion of gender and leadership. The focus on relationships, influence, and outcomes allows for substantial individual differences and characteristics of effective leaders provided that they are aware of how to accomplish effective leadership.
Effective leaders are aspirational and inspirational. Callahan and Grunberg [ 1 ] found value in all of these models and identified four leadership domains to capture key elements of all of these models: Character, Competence, Context, and Communication. Character includes all characteristics of the individual—physical e.
Competence includes transcendent leadership skills e. Context includes physical, psychological, cultural and social environments, and various situations e. Communication refers to verbal oral and written and nonverbal, sending and receiving of information. Interpersonal refers to how one's perception of self and personal characteristics, as well as perception by others, affects each dyadic relationship. Team refers to small groups of people interacting for a common purpose. Organizational refers to large groups of people and systems that affect people.
Callahan and Grunberg [ 1 ] refer to character as the aspects of the individual including personality and values, but also more broadly to individual characteristics, such as physical stature and appearance. Character contributes to the potential and realized effectiveness of leaders [ 1 ]. The importance of a leader's character is not a new or revolutionary idea. Ancient literature including the Bible and Homer's epic poems is filled with examples of leaders whose individual characteristics were greatly emphasized, for example, the cunningness of Odysseus, the wisdom of Solomon, and Lady seeking real sex Kathryn courage of Hector.
The earliest writings on leadership theory focused on the leader's individual characteristics. Consideration of a leader's character is relevant to leader effectiveness. It is noteworthy that key aspects of character pertinent to leadership e. In addition, personality differences e. Personal values, beliefs, ethics, and morality also are individual differences that are not linked to sex or gender. However, gender—as an important aspect of Character—is relevant to consider with regard to leadership styles and effectiveness. Some character traits identified—such as responsibility, integrity, trustworthiness, optimism, adaptability, and humility—transcend gender roles and are important for the leader role [ 23 ].
Men are stereotyped with agentic characteristics such as confidence, assertiveness, independence, rationality, and decisiveness; whereas women are stereotyped with communal characteristics such as concern for others, sensitivity, warmth, helpfulness, and nurturance [ 28 ]. These gender stereotypes of women as warm, nurturing, and caring and the corresponding stereotypes of men as cold, competitive, and authoritarian may have contributed to the perception by some that women may be less effective than men in leadership positions although they can be, in fact, equally effective [ 2930 ].
It is noteworthy that any generalizations about men versus women as effective leaders based on sex or gender reveal an emphasis on the Character domain of leadership. Interestingly, Eagly et al. In that case, leaders of the expected gender and sex are more effective.
With regard to how leadership characteristics are gendered, research indicates that traditional managerial effectiveness e. This means that characteristics deemed necessary to be a successful manager or an effective leader have often been stereotypically associated with men [ 3132 ]. Schein and Mueller [ 33 ] and Schein et al. In leadership roles that transcend managerial roles, gender stereotypes may be particularly challenging for women because agentic, as opposed to communal, tendencies often are valued. According to the Role Congruity Theory [ 35 ], the agentic qualities thought necessary in the leadership role are incompatible with the predominantly communal qualities stereotypically associated with women, resulting in a prejudicial evaluation of the behavior of women leaders as less effective or unfavorable than the equivalent behavior of men.
For example, the more agentically a leader role is defined e. Therefore, in leadership roles, women are confronted with opposing pressures: as leaders they should possess agentic qualities i. Another consideration concerning the interaction of character and gender on leadership effectiveness is leadership style. Callahan and Grunberg [ 1 ] indicate that personality affects the leader's preferred leadership style and gender also is likely to affect preferred leadership style. Many different leadership styles have been identified over the years.
These leadership styles can be categorized as agentic versus communal styles of leadership, respectively. Behaviors of the interpersonally-oriented style include: helping and doing favors for subordinates, looking out for their welfare, explaining procedures, and being friendly and available [ 40 ].
Male gender is commonly associated with agentic style, whereas female gender is commonly associated with communal style. Both styles can be effective, depending on the followers and the situation. Understanding one's own gender and which leadership style is more comfortable can help optimize one's effectiveness as a leader. This spectrum Lady seeking real sex Kathryn relevant to the consideration of gender roles, because a component of agentic norms implies that men are more autocratic and directive, whereas women are more participative and democratic [ 39 ].
It has been suggested that the extent to which female leaders favor a more participative rather than directive leadership style may reflect cultural influences based on expected roles of women versus men [ 35 ]. Women may encounter negative reactions and evaluations when they become directive and take charge in an agentic manner consistent with an autocratic style [ 39 ]. Because men probably do not experience the same incongruence between the male gender role and the leader role, they may be freer to lead in an autocratic manner.
The fact is that each of these leadership styles has its place. If gender roles limit one's leadership style options, then effectiveness of leadership is constrained.Lady seeking real sex Kathryn
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