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This paper explores the multiple ideas and scenarios where multiple authors are exploring the implications of how men or women are seen as leaders. These are articles are unbiased towards which gender is preferred, so it makes it easier in order to see the data on why one particular gender may be preferred over another for leadership. With the assistant of the main journal articles written by Eagly & Johannesen-Schmidt, 2007, Eagly & Johnson, 1990, Tucker, McCarthy, & Jones, 1999, Riggio, Riggio, Salinas, & Cole, 2003, and Paustian-Underdahl, Slattery-Walker & Woehr, 2014 will be the main scholarly journals I will use to go over the topic. The rest of the information that are not scholarly journals will be used to back up the information that was researched in the journals or to add other information where the use of the journals were not necessary.
Who Are the Better Leaders: Men or Women?
There are many deciding factors onto what people may consider a person to be a great leader. It is if the person is strong, smart, persuasive, has a charismatic personality, and that they are able to think on their feet at a moment’s notice. You would think that these would be all the good ways to measure whether or not someone is a great leader.
Surprisingly this is not the case when some people decide on who would make a great leader or not. Some people based their choice of leadership on gender too, even if we don’t sometimes know it.
The question is, putting all other attributes I listed aside; does it really matter whether the leader is a man or a woman? This brings into the thought of sex stereotyping that is still prevalent today between genders (Mealey, 2000). Who would be the leader a man or woman? Let’s look at some details.
The thought that women would make better leaders than men is a thought that is ever on the rise. Men and women tend to contain feminine and masculine traits that help them become effective leaders, yet men tend to rely more on their masculine side of things when leading. What I mean by this is that men focus on trying to stand out from the crowd and competing with everyone. This isn’t good when a man is a leader and they try to participate and teamwork opportunities. The reason a woman would make a great leader is that instead of being competitive with others all the time, they will try to foster relationships with their employees more in order to build better teamwork skills. This is not to say that all men don’t do this, but it is highly expected for many women to do this with their employees making a better work environment (McCrimmon, 2014) (Eagly & Johnson, 1990).
Another reason that women are seen to be better leaders is that that they are more likely to be more assertive and persuasive in many situations and that they will have a stronger drive to get things done. Being more assertive and persuasive is quite different when comparing it to males being more dominant and aggressive in leadership positions. Women were shown to be more empathetic and more flexible as well in multiple tasks they were given in leadership positions. They are really driven to take risks and ignore rules that their male counterparts would most likely do. Their interpersonal skills rival those of men and they are able to learn from adversity rather than quitting after being shut down once. These are some top qualities that women need to have in order to stay at the top. Effective leadership and team building skills is something that really pushes the allure of women being leaders over the edge (Caliper, 2015) (Bailey, 2014) (Eagly & Johnson, 1990).
Another reason that women are considered to make better leaders than men is because current rankings done in 2008 show that women have ranked higher than men on performance skills tests and they have ranked higher than men on who carries out policy matters more efficiently. This was surprising considering that around this time there were still more men in leadership positions than women. Not only that it seems that women were considered to be better leaders than men is because they were shown to be more honest, intelligent, hardworking, ambitious, compassionate, creative, and outgoing than men, though they did tie in ambition and hardworking qualities for this survey. Still, these are some amazing leadership traits that women have and yet they are not being put into these leadership roles that they deserve (Pew ResearchCenter, 2008) (Eagly & Johannesen-Schmidt, 2007). Let’s take a look at the subject as to why men would make better leaders than women.
One more reason women are considered to be great leaders, politically especially, because it gives an area a certain look or feel to it that shows the people that a woman becoming a leader is an amazing thing if that country or state is willing to elect them. When women are in office they the GDP rates increase by 6.8% more than male leaders in other areas because of their effectiveness in office. Women tend to be more open to many ideas mostly, regardless of their chosen party, when it comes to certain outlooks on political views. When women are in office, Democratic or Republican, you are sure to see an increase in bills that involve civil liberties/rights, health, education, and many other topics than men that are in office. Women become invested in who they are representing in their area and they really want to see them get what they need to be an effective community (Hill, 2014) (Eagly & Johnson, 1990) (Tucker, McCarthy, & Jones, 1999).
Men are considered to be great leaders, because they are more aggressive and dominant in many situations in the work force. These are traits that many people feel should have the most if they are to be leader. They do not want someone who is a push over to be their leader and if they are able to command a team effectively it is because of these two traits that I listed. If a business wants someone that will be competitive, dominant, and aggressive enough to attack the opposition without backing down many people feel that men are the right gender to do such a thing. This may sound strange and you may wonder why they can’t just find a woman that contains these traits as well. It may be because most surveys based on the answers that both genders give them, is that more men contain these specific traits than women (McCrimmon, 2014) (Eagly & Johnson, 1990). Is this true are more men willing to challenge anyone that gets in their way more than women making them better candidates to be on the front line of many competitive companies?
Another reason men are considered to be better suited for the leadership position than women is that they seem to be more decisive than women. In the same survey done in 2008 men either tied or lost out to women on every leadership trait except decisive. Being decisive women it comes to decisions is a good thing considering you want someone to be able to make decisions on their feet and to be able to give you an answer without taking too long to decide. Men are definitely ranked high enough to be considered more decisive than women, but are that because they are quick to make a decision, or is it because they run into easy scenarios where it doesn’t take them that long to decide (PewResearch Center, 2008).
One more reason men are considered to be great leaders is the way that they will rate themselves on evaluations on how they feel that they will react in certain leadership positions. They will give answers that will exude competence and confidence that many employers will feel that they need in order to put their company on the map. It’s not to say that women lack self confidence and competence it’s just that compared to men they are unable to promote themselves through these self-evaluations effectively compared to men (Suddath, 2014) (Eagly & Johannesen-Schmidt, 2007) (Paustian-Underdahl, Slattery-Walker & Woehr, 2014).
Even though I am listing all these great reasons about how women are great leaders and that they would do a better job than men it is not because I am biased I simply am stating multiple sources of research. I have found many sources that even though they are weighing the pros and cons of whether or not men or women would make better leaders, a large portion of it seems to fair towards women. Not to say that women are perfect leaders which we will get to in a moment. Let’s look at the reasons why women wouldn’t make great leaders.
One reason women are not considered to be better leaders than men are that they are not known to be very aggressive or dominant in many areas that employers feel that they should be. Yes, women can be very assertive and persuasive in a lot of situations, but sometimes they are needed to be able to attack the opposing team without holding back in order to ensure their wins. This is not to say that all women don’t have these traits, it’s that if they do they are said to be suffering from “Queen Bee” syndrome. What this means is if a man is seen as dominant and aggressive he is shown to doing his job and on the ball, but that won’t work well for women. Women would sometimes be shown as someone who is mean, annoying, and bossy and a certain expletive if she were to act this way. This won’t be true all the time, but this will be a big reason that many people won’t want a woman as a leader if she cannot show these traits without coming off as an employer that people don’t want to be around (McCrimmon, 2014) (Eagly & Johannesen-Schmidt, 2007) (Riggio, Riggio, Salinas, & Cole, 2003).
Another reason that women wouldn’t be seen as a great leader is that they are not considered to be as decisive as men. It seems that men are more likely to be more decisive on major decisions than women for reasons unknown. This could be seen as a bad thing especially if the woman is in a political position where people depend on her. It’s not to say that the woman was able to get the position and not be able to make decisions effectively, but people will view women as someone who just can’t make up her mind. This definitely sheds a negative light on what people think of women in leadership positions, but sometimes there are some things that cannot be helped if there isn’t someone out there willing to change it (Pew Research Center, 2008) (Eagly & Johannesen-Schmidt, 2007) (Paustian-Underdahl, Slattery-Walker & Woehr, 2014).
Another reason that women are not considered for many leadership positions is the way they seem to rate themselves when they are told to evaluate themselves. Women are evaluating themselves honestly in these evaluations and it seems that they are answering a bit too honestly. Not that they should lie when they are told to tell what they think of themselves in certain positions, but it’s just that they seem to rate themselves lower than men when they are asked how they think they would do in certain leadership positions. It may not have anything to do with their confidence levels; it just may be that women want to be open and honest for the evaluations fear for not being caught in a lie (Suddath, 2014) (Eagly & Johannesen-Schmidt, 2007) (Paustian-Underdahl, Slattery-Walker & Woehr, 2014).
It’s a shame that people think this way and that they may list reasons that they cannot apply to everyone as to why they cannot be leader. This is not to rise up the view as to why women should be leaders, considering there have been some great leaders from both genders in the past. It’s just that sometimes the lack of understanding of others for a topic as serious as this makes you wonder how people can still favor one gender over the other. Let’s get on to the topic as to why men are not considered to be effective leaders.
Surprisingly when looking up reasons as to why men are not suitable to become leaders I found the most typical answers where men were not effective leaders, because they didn’t know anything about the job, they were to competitive, or that they just weren’t simply liked by the other employees long enough to be considered to be leader. I really don’t find this strange at all that I could not find many concrete reasons as to why men would not make effective leaders rather the generic answers that the person does not contain certain leadership qualities that they needed to better their leadership position. Lack of teamwork skills came up a lot, but you can still say the same things about a woman if she did not have those qualities.
This may be because after all this time, myself included, we are so used to seeing males as leaders and that we usually don’t always nitpick on why they should be leader because of what gender they are. There have been many men that were terrible leaders, but we attributed it mostly to why they failed is because they had terrible skills as why they shouldn’t have the job. The thought of men being leaders is nothing new, so when one screws up we just picked the next available male that we feel will accomplish our goals. Once a woman steps into that role though we have to scrutinize every little thing, because is something different. It is less rare than what it was before, but it is still something that just feels so uncommon.
It is kind of like when Barack Obama became the first African American president. Yes he is a man, but we have never had an African American president so everything that he does is either criticized or scrutinized by the public more than usual. The same thing will happen if a woman is ever elected president. That will be too new and the public would be on her every move to see how she does leading a country. To think if Hillary Clinton was able to become president how do you think she would have been viewed by the public? There are other countries that have already taken the step and elected a woman in the highest leadership position in their country, but it is something that their country knew that they were ready for or that they were already used to the idea of something like that happening.
My list on why men shouldn’t be in leadership positions is definitely short, but it is for a reason. It may be because we are comparing why men are great leaders, which is considered the norm, to why women would be great leaders, which isn’t the norm in most situations. Time will tell on whether or not things will change in the future for the better or worse when the next round of elections come around. Now let’s tackle the subject when men and women have been leaders and things have either gotten better or gotten worse. Let’s start with the women.
It seems like since women have earned the right to vote women that started the small idea as to why women should be considered for many leadership positons. It’s not to say that this has led to good or bad decisions because of it, but let’s take a look at some women in history that have had leadership positions and what exactly happened. Let’s start with the good that some women leaders have done. To start off there is Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany. She is working hard to help multiple countries work against these ISIS attacks that have been plaguing Russia the past year. She is a strong woman and she is not backing down to show that she is willing to help many. Angela Merkel is a woman that is doing well to continue to diminish the Nazi cloud that has been hanging over Germany since the 1940s. Even though she is still dispelling those that still want to harm Jewish people in Germany, she still works hard to take care of her country (Forbes, 2015). People generally are glad that she is the chancellor of Germany, usually when you look her up she receives many positive reviews for all the changes she has made in Germany.
Sadly, where there is a good there is also a bad. There have been a few women leaders that have had some bad times and this is one of them. Jennifer Granholm, the governor of Michigan from 2003 to 2011, started off strong when she first became governor. Things were going well she was advocating for education, competing in events to raise money and awareness for causes, and she was even responsible for starting on some of the inquires against Kwame Kilpatrick when he needed to be removed from office. These are all great things, but she has faced a lot of issues when she was coming into her last years as governor of Michigan. In fact in 2011 Governor Granholm had her last act overturned by Michigan’s Supreme Court. They simply stated that she went too far in allowing a convicted murder to finally be relieved of his sentence after 25 years in prison. The man was put back into jail, by Granholm, though because the members of the murder victim’s family began to complain about her choice. Granholm made a hasty decision on deciding that a man should be released from prison, he did commit the crime, even though she knew that the power of authority that she had in order to do this was no longer available to her. Not only that, she quickly changed her mind on the matter only because the family complained. It seemed to me that she did not think this decision through very well and because of this it makes her out to be a bad leader. Sure she has done a lot of great things as governor, but the people usually linger more on the bad than the good (Eggert & Williams, 2014). Many people were upset with Jennifer Granholm when she did this and those that weren’t her strongest supporters’ kind of fell off her team after this.
Now let’s look at some male political leaders. There have been many decent male politicians overtime, but let’s focus on Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was relentless in his war on drugs and crime and he wasn’t afraid to show it. He pressured the Soviet Union to end the Cold War and he wasn’t afraid to give his honest opinion about the government even though he was a part of the government system he was slandering. He even stated that “the government isn’t the solution to our problems it is the problem.” He may have had some bad moments in office, but he was definitely a politician that wasn’t afraid to go there just to make sure that he put America in the best position possible. This is one of the few men that can be listed as a great leader (Bio, 2014). Reagan was and still is appraised by many for his great efforts in the U.S., you can’t say he was the best president we’ve ever had but you can say that he was one of the decent presidents. Now let’s take a look at a politician that is not so great.
This political leader is considered to be the worst that many people can come up with from the top of their head. His name is Adolf Hitler. When I stated that a male leader that was considered bad for his people would be listed, it just couldn’t be resisted on choosing him. It has to be admitted even though Adolf did decimate the population of Germany immensely and was a very prejudice person he did bring back the German economy after their first depression in order to make the country thrive. This does not excuse the things that he did in order to do that though. Hitler was only considered a great leader to those he felt deserved it. This does not make a leader. Showing favoritism to people that you think should benefit from the countries success while showing cruelty to everyone else is beyond doubt something that should not be done. This was definitely one of the worse male leaders that a country has ever had (Bio, 2014). People reacted to Adolf Hitler with anger, disgust, sadness, fear and rage. These were generally the reactions from the people that wasn’t on his side and those that were on his side praised him greatly. You can say that this leader received mixed reviews from the public.
I could have simply listed people Kwame Kilpatrick as a leader that was not good for the people, but I wanted to give a diverse background of leaders from different areas. The same can be said for the people that I have chosen for the woman category. The list goes on to whom I could have listed as good or bad leaders for this essay, but I have decided to limit it to two people per gender. After much research it has been shown that there is no clear cut answer as to who is the better leader. It seems to just be based on whether or not the person has the leadership qualities that best fit them for the job in question. Are there people that prefer men as leaders instead of women and vice versa? Yes there are people who view it that way and it is up to the people to decide what they want.
On the case of many of the journals that I used I noticed some things that may cause problems with the idea of why men or women would make better leaders. Most of these problems were evident in the articles by Eagly & Johnson, 1990 and McCarthy, & Jones, 1999.
Technological Limitations. Were that since this was in the early 90’s it was a lot harder to actually get around and get information on what people thought of this topic. Surveys had to be conducted in both journals for both studies to see the effectiveness for both genders, and due to this that some people may have been excluded in certain areas to get their thoughts on the subject.
Demographic Limitations. In addition to lack of ways to make the studies more widespread this has caused problems for certain groups to become eliminated from the survey pool in order to get a close to accurate idea of people’s thoughts. The early 90’s wasn’t the Stone Age, but it also wasn’t the optimal time to actually spread out in order to gather enough research like you can today. Now researching and traveling is a lot easier to do.
Modality Limitations. With all the authors having to rely on which people they were able to reach the amount of responses that they received may not reflect a large portion of what people think on the topic of who would make a better leader between both genders. Also with this study being done in the 90s there may be more biased opinions then versus a study that was done now.
Conclusion and Further Study
As a result, this research essay has shown me that when it comes to being a better leader many people may feel that it is better to choose a man for the role. Not to say that every person out there is biased, because women vote as well, it may just be because they are used to having that gender in that specific leadership role. That may be why the United States has not seen a woman in such a role before that they are not ready to change just yet. Since there is really no concrete evidence on to who is the better leader, based on gender, there may be a chance in the future for that to happen in many countries, not just the United States. There has been more women taking on leadership roles in other countries and there are many people still going over the topic of which is the most effective gender, but not much is being done today.
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