Myth Buster No.2 Women are Soft


Myth Buster no. 2 Women are too soft

“The soft stuff is always harder than the hard stuff." - Roger Enrico Vice Chairman, Pepsico

Another myth about women who lead is that they can be too soft and as a result can’t make the tough decisions necessary to become effective leaders. Often when compared to male leaders, colleagues will make the usual stereotypical comments that women tend to be more nurturing, empathetic or on the downside moody and emotional. Whereas men are described as being action –orientated and more task focused. A recent study, featured in Psychology today, concluded that within the workplace peoples perceptions were that “female leaders take care of, while male leaders take charge of”.

These stereotypical views have led to numerous books and articles been written about how women can act more like men or becoming more ‘manlike’ in their leadership approach. Women just need to be themselves and focus on what needs to be done, avoiding distractions such as these, which will stop them reaching their goals.

In no way should the research be ignored, unconscious bias exists, and we all harbour preconceived ideas about one another. Being educated and informed can help us understand more and strengthen our leadership style.

Solution to: “female leaders take care of, while male leaders take charge of”.

Be yourself!!

‘Taking care of’ or ‘nurturing’ can be associated with the servant leadership style which is also related to transformational leadership, reported as being one of the most effective leadership styles.

Servant leaders focus primarily on the needs of others, in the case of school leaders, this would mean putting the needs of students, teachers and parents first. The servant leader shares power and is empowering; they help people develop and grow so that they perform as highly as possible. They shape people and achieve results through their investment in others as opposed to the use of coercion, money or force. They seek to serve others so that they are impactful rather than providing rewards and punishments to obtain compliance.

Famous servant leaders have been Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Martin Luther King. The reason they are servant leaders is that they put the needs of their people, before their own and took the “harder” path towards achieving their goals. (Brown 2013)

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A Alexander


Hannah Wilson Hannah Wilson @misswilsey 2 months ago
A brilliant post and message Andrea. @benniekara presented on servant leadership at our interviews for Leadership Team at Aureus - it was fascinating. I also remember one of @teachertoolkit Ross' team at QK at #TMLondon sharing her friends' career paths and then relating it back to their Latin school mission statement about serving others - they were all in roles that nurtured others - they were living those values. I read this article with interest a while back about CEOs:
Kiran S Kiran S @kiran 2 months ago
Absolutely love this @andream656 Servant leadership is to lead with authenticity. Love how you've used a range of sources to explore this myth x
A Alexander A Alexander @andream656 2 months ago
Thanks both, I feel passionately that this is my comfortable leadership style. I read a book which described leaders as been like shepherds herding sheep. Steering them on the right path, navigating the way etc, I love this analogy.
Anna Ambrose Anna Ambrose @annaambrose 2 months ago
Brilliant! I'm just reading 'The Captain Class' by Sam Walker, and one of the features he cites that the captains of world-beating sports teams have in common is being a 'water carrier' - doing whatever it takes to enable everyone in the team to succeed. It's definitely the leadership skin I feel comfy in.
Nicole  Fowles Nicole Fowles @nicolefowles 2 months ago
This is a great post! Taking care of IS taking charge :-) Education is all about being in service of others and leadership of that has never been more relevant or needed. Thanks for this
A Alexander A Alexander @andream656 2 months ago
Thanks for your feedback Nicole
Naznin Choudhury Naznin Choudhury @naz08 2 months ago
Amazing blog Andrea. I am with you. And I strongly believe in this kind of leadership putting students, teachers, parents and all others first which can create a happy environment. And a happy environment is vital to achieve great things in life. Thank you x
A Alexander A Alexander @andream656 2 months ago
Thanks for taking the time to read this Naznin. Catch up soon.
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