The impact of gender on leadership style should emerge especially clearly on measures of style that reflect the agentic norms associated with the male gender role and the communal norms associated with the female gender role. Using such an approach, the classic work on leadership Defined styles that are primarily agentic or primarily communal. Most common was a distinction between two approaches to leadership: task oriented style, defined as a concern with accomplishing assigned tasks by organizing task-relevant activities, and interpersonally oriented style, defined as a concern with maintaining interpersonal relationships by tending to others’ morale and welfare. This distinction was introduced in1950 and developed further in the Ohio State studies on leadership. In this research, task-oriented style, labeled initiation of structure, included behavior such as encouraging subordinates to follow rules and procedures, maintaining high standards for Leadership Styles of Women and Men performance, and making leader and subordinate roles explicit. Interpersonally oriented style, labeled consideration, included behavior such as helping and doing favors for subordinates, looking out for their welfare, explaining procedures, and being friendly and available.
In summary, to the extent that gender roles spill over to influence leadership behavior in organizational settings, the behavior of female leaders, compared with that of male leaders, may be more interpersonally oriented, democratic, and transformational. In contrast, the behavior of Male leaders, compared with that of female leaders, may be more task-oriented and autocratic. In addition, the greater incongruence of the female than male gender role with typical leader roles Leadership Styles of Women and Men May make it more difficult for women than men to manifest the more agentic leadership styles. However, because of the constraining impact of leadership roles, any differences between women and men who occupy the same role are unlikely to be large in size.
Task-Oriented, Interpersonally Oriented, Democratic, and Autocratic Styles
Studies that compared men and women on task and interpersonal styles and democratic and autocratic styles. In this meta-analysis the comparison between male and female behavior for each relevant study was represented in terms of its effect size (or d), which expresses the sex difference in units of the study's standard deviation. With each finding represented by an effect size, multiple studies were collectively represented by the average of their effect sizes.
Although the findings on task and interpersonal styles thus provided some support for the social role principle that the constraints of leadership roles cause sex differences to decrease in magnitude, the absence of this pattern on measures of democratic versus autocratic style Invites interpretation. To the extent that female managers favor more democratic and participative styles than male managers, this tendency may reflect the attitudinal bias against female leaders that arises from the incongruity of the female gender role and many leader roles. The resulting lack of legitimacy for female leaders can make the clear-cut exercise of power and dominance difficult for women because they encounter resistance to their Authority. Women may thus encounter negative reactions when they take charge in the especially authoritative manner of autocratic and directive leaders. This interpretation is also in line with meta-analysis of studies examining evaluations of male and female leaders whose behavior had been experimentally equated. Their findings showed that participants evaluated autocratic behavior by female leaders more negatively than they evaluated the equivalent behavior by male leaders. Because men are not so constrained by others’ attitudinal biases, they are freer to lead in a more autocratic and non-participative manner, should they so desire. Furthermore, as research on motivation to manage suggests, Men are somewhat more interested than women in taking charge in a clear-cut manner in hierarchic relationships.
Placating subordinates so that they accept a woman's leadership may to some extent require that she allow them some degree of control over these decisions. This sort of collaborative Leadership Styles of Women and Men decision-making no doubt introduces interpersonal complexity not encountered by leaders who proceed in a more directive manner. Because women's communal repertoire encompasses social skills, it may be easier for women than men to behave in this participative Manner. Moreover, to the extent that female leaders have internalized gender-stereotypic reservations about their capability for leadership, they may gain confidence by making collaborative decisions that they can determine are in line with their associates' expectations. Thus, proceeding in a participative mode may enable many female leaders to overcome others’ resistance, win their acceptance, gain self-confidence, and thereby be effective.
Transformational, Transactional, and Laissez-Faire Styles
We investigated transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire styles of male and female leaders in a large sample of managers that had been assembled to provide norms for the most widely used measure of these styles, the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ; Center for Leadership Studies, 2000). These managers were predominantly from the United States but included managers from eight other nations. Ratings of the managers (by mangers’ subordinates, peers, or subordinates or by the managers’ themselves) indicated how frequently a manager engaged in the behaviors that are prototypical of the five subscales of transformational Leadership, the three subscales of transactional leadership, and the one laissez-faire scale. In our current research we are also meta-analyzing a group of studies that compared women and men Leadership Styles of Women and Men on the MLQ and similar measures.
In contrast, men exceeded women on the transactional scales of active management-by exception and passive management-by-exception and on laissez-faire leadership. These findings suggest that male managers, more than female managers, (a) paid attention to their followers’ problems and mistakes, (b) waited until problems became severe before attempting to solve them, and (c) were absent and uninvolved at critical times. The largest of these differences in the male direction was on the passive management-by-exception scale. However, the relatively negative behaviors associated with the scales on which men exceeded women cannot be regarded as typical of male managers because raters perceived relatively low frequencies of these behaviors for both sexes, albeit higher frequencies for male than female managers.
Why did women fare better than men on the measures of styles and effectiveness? One Possible interpretation is that women have to meet a higher standard than men to attain leadership roles and have to maintain better performance to retain these roles. Substantiating this interpretation is research demonstrating the operation of a double standard in perceiving women as highly competent. In addition, men’s greater likelihood of Manifesting ineffective styles–namely, passive management-by-exception and laissez faire leadership, suggests that men may have greater leeway to remain in leadership roles, despite poor performance.
Another reason that women fare better than men may be the tendency for the female gender role to foster more feminine styles. Thus, individualized consideration and, to some Leadership Styles of Women and Men extent, contingent reward may involve being attentive, considerate, and nurturing to one’s Subordinates, tendencies that are consistent with the female gender role. Being encouraging and supportive of subordinates may foster showing optimism and excitement about the future, the tendencies assessed by the inspirational motivation subscale. Perhaps these qualities then foster the respect and pride that are assessed by the idealized influence (attributes) subscale. Yet another possibility is that female managers may encounter resistance if they proceed in the more traditional command-and-control leadership styles, and they opportunistically discover the Advantages of the more interpersonally sensitive but inspirational type of leadership that is captured by measures of transformational leadership.
Empirical research comparing the leadership styles of women and men yields a pattern of findings that is more complex than that generally acknowledged by social scientists or writers of popular books on management. Consistent with research comparing women and men on numerous social behaviors; we have established that leadership style findings from experimental settings tend to be gender-stereotypic. In such settings, people interact as strangers without the constraints of long-term role relationships. Gender roles are moderately important influences on behavior in such contexts and tend to produce gender-stereotypic behavior. In addition, somewhat smaller, stereotypic sex differences appeared in assessment studies, in which people not selected for leadership responded to instruments assessing their leadership styles. Because respondents who were not under the constraints of managerial roles
Completed measures in these studies, some tendency for leadership styles to appear stereotypic were expected from the perspective of social role theory. When social behavior is regulated by Leadership Styles of Women and Men Leadership roles in organizational settings, it should primarily reflect the influence of these other roles and therefore lose much of its gender-stereotypic character. Indeed, findings for interpersonal and task styles supported this logic. However, gender in-congruent leader roles appeared to compromise leaders’ task-oriented styles and their effectiveness. Also, women’s leadership styles were more democratic than men's even in organizational settings, possibly reflecting the special legitimacy problems that female leaders face if they attempt to take charge in a clear-cut, traditionally hierarchical manner.
On measures of transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership styles, which were designed to predict effectiveness, yet another pattern appeared. Female leaders exceeded male leaders especially on the female-stereotypic transformational dimension of individualized
Consideration and were higher than men on two additional subscales of transformational leadership as well as on the contingent reward scale of transactional leadership. In contrast, men exceeded women on the active and passive management-by-exception and laissez-faire subscales.
It is likely that the greater effectiveness of female than male leaders in this sample of managers reflected the negative relationships of the passive management-by-exception and the laissez faire styles to effectiveness and the positive relationships of the transformational and contingent
Reward styles to effectiveness.
One consideration in interpreting our findings is that even the largest of these sex differences would be described by most social scientists as small. However, as demonstrated, small differences, when repeated over individuals and occasions, Can produce large consequences. Moreover, because investigators face many barriers to achieving well controlled studies of leadership style, especially in organizational settings, uncontrolled Leadership Styles of Women and Men Variability would decrease the magnitude of any systematic effects, including those representing sex differences.
Additional primary research is needed to clarify the mechanisms underlying these findings. Based on existing evidence, we suggested that two underlying processes may be especially influential: (a) the spillover of the female and male gender roles onto leadership behavior and (b) the prejudice women may encounter in leadership roles, especially if they are Male-dominated or if women behave in an especially masculine style. One manifestation of this prejudice is the operation of a double standard by which women have to meet a higher standard of effectiveness to attain leadership roles and to retain them over time.
Finally, the aspects of these findings that have the clearest implications for the effectiveness of female and male leaders pertain to transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire styles. Women are more transformational style and greater use of contingent reward as well as their lesser use of passive management-by-exception and laissez-faire style should enhance organizational effectiveness. These findings thus resonate with the attention that journalists have given to the possibility that women are better managers than men. For example, an article in Business Week asserted that “After years of analyzing what makes leaders most effective and figuring out who’s got the Right Stuff, management gurus now know how to boost the odds of getting a great executive: However, women’s advantages in leadership style may sometimes be countered by a reluctance, especially on the part of men, to give women power over others in work settings. Moreover, social and organizational changes place women, more often than men, in the position of being newer Entrants into higher-level managerial roles. As newcomers, women may reflect contemporary Leadership Styles of Women and Men trends in management, including an emphasis on transformational leadership that may threaten older, more established managers. A reluctance to allow women to ascend in organizational hierarchies may thus reflect resistance to changing managerial styles as well as a prejudicial tendency to evaluate women’s leadership behavior less positively than the equivalent Behavior of men. Nonetheless, on the whole, research on leadership style has very favorable implications for women’s increasing representation in the ranks of leaders.