Leaders bear the heavy responsibilities that come with their roles. Unfortunately, women also have to take on the weight of stereotypes associated with female leaders.
Though Americans have no gender preference for their boss, social psychologist Alice Eagly reveals that people view female leaders as less legitimate and competent than males. Research revealed that men only had to show agency to be considered effective leaders, while females had to demonstrate both communion and agency to be viewed the same way.
Leadership can be tricky, but you don’t have to follow these gender expectations to excel in your role. You can get past these stereotypes and become an effective leader by following a balanced leadership style.
Learn how to take calculated risks
Establishing a startup is a brave decision because the business industry is filled with many risks. Unfortunately, many people still believe that female founders and leaders don’t know how to take risks. Diving head-on into all these risks isn’t a good idea either, which is why our article on ‘Overcoming Gender Stereotypes as a Female Founder’ recommends that you take calculated risks. You can identify the pros and cons of these risks and even implement a risk management strategy to ensure that you’re making the right decisions for your business. By learning how to mix risk-taking with safety, you can become a balanced and effective leader.
Show empathy to your entire team
Empathy is viewed as a feminine value, and it just happens to be one of the most in-demand leadership traits in the present. A study by Development Dimensions International found that empathy is the leadership trait that can guarantee a business’ overall success. Empathy may be a soft skill, but leaders who demonstrate this trait can promote cooperation and commitment in the workplace. This trait is especially valuable during crises because it allows employees to voice their concerns and opinions. So despite being the authority figure, balance your leadership style by demonstrating empathy to your team.
Communicate properly with your employees
Leaders are often viewed as people who make significant business decisions in a vacuum. However, a great leader is described by LHH as an authority who can explain tough decisions and maintain the solidarity of their team throughout various events. Though not everyone will like your decisions, your willingness to communicate about your choices can help you earn the respect and trust of your staff. So whether you’re planning to open a new store or lay off some employees, take the time to talk to your team and communicate the rationale behind your decisions.
Seek constant feedback regarding your leadership style
Speaking of communication, a balanced leader does not only provide feedback to their employees but also remains open to the suggestions and comments of their own staff. This leadership trait is considered necessary by The Balance Money because your staff’s feedback can give you direction on how to improve your business. After all, your team works on the ground, which is why they are more aware of the problems and issues that the customers may bring up. As an added bonus, your employees will appreciate you more if you listen to their comments and suggestions.
You can become a more competent leader once you break those harmful stereotypes. So rather than sticking to gender-based values, try to become a balanced leader who can effectively get the job done.