What Leadership Style Propels Your Success? 

by Cindy Gordon

Leadership Direction

Spending many years of my professional life in a very male-dominated industry — public accounting — then opening my own business as a leadership development and business coach, I have become very aware of two prominent leadership styles in the business world. Both have their merit. However, to build a highly successful business, leaders can’t always rely on one approach to bring out the best in their people. The first step is to understand the differences between the two approaches and know which is more suited to each person you work with. The success of each person is the responsibility of the leader! 

The Masculine Leadership Approach 

This style works well for the person who is driven by competition and getting ahead of others. People are focused on “climbing the ladder of success.” The hierarchy within the organizational structure reflects the achievements of people. Work hard, get results, and you’ll increase your chances of being promoted and climb to the next rung on the ladder. Your achievements and experiences are always gauged on the rungs of the ladder. 

Feedback tends to come in a structured manner, usually on an annual basis — yes, companies still do that! Negative feedback comes on a regular basis throughout the year. Negative feedback is seen as a motivational tool. Think about the highly driven sales person. If you are confronted about not meeting your monthly quota, you will be more inspired and determined in the future. Positive feedback mostly comes from the amount of money you make and can be directly linked to the amount of money you generate for the business. 

Operational people tend to be seen as less important than sales people. Internal relationships and collaborations are developed to achieve transactional goals. For example, someone from the sales team may have no contact with people in accounting, unless they can’t close a deal because of credit issues. This situation will bring the members of the two teams together to resolve the issue. Once accomplished, the communications will stop until another issue comes up. 

Emotions are a sign of weakness. They can also be interpreted as a sign of incompetence — the inability to keep up with the others. Emotional resilience is key, especially since most of the verbal feedback can focus on the negative. 

Overall, the masculine leadership approach is survival of the fittest. For someone to thrive in this environment, he or she should be highly competitive, have the ability to not take things personally and be compensated based on his or her efforts. Otherwise, this approach can reduce productivity and the care a person has for the quality of his or her work. 

The Feminine Leadership Approach 

The female leadership approach starts with authenticity. These leaders tend to be self-aware and are motivated to build relationships with their staff. Their passion and personal core values are driving forces for their success. They believe that when people love what they do and thrive personally, the company benefits overall. Emotional connections are a driving factor for success, and the leaders work to build bonds on a personal and professional level with their team members. 

The feminine leadership approach brings people together to brainstorm, collaborate and communicate. This enables the group to participate in the development of ideas and plans for success, so they have buy-in. Problems, challenges and failures are growth opportunities and opportunities for collaborations. Listening to the viewpoints of others plays a large piece in the leadership style — ensuring all voices are considered. 

Accomplishments and wins are seen as outcomes of the group. The tendency toward collaboration makes dealing with emotions important. Whether though conversations about “How did that make you feel?” or “What is upsetting you?” or noticing the emotions or stress level of a situation, sensitive topics are dealt with and not ignored. 

Feedback is given constantly. Encouragement, praise and recognition are provided to team members in formal and informal ways. This doesn’t mean negative feedback is ignored. Instead, it is delivered in a supportive manner that encourages growth and learning. 

This leadership style works well for people who are motivated by helping others and serving a meaningful business purpose. Research has shown that companies that use this leadership approach outperform their competitors, have higher employee engagement levels and are employers of choice! 

Do you work in a masculine or feminine leadership environment? What challenges are you dealing with — financially, with staff, with stakeholder — that could change by changing your leadership style? Remember, the success of the company and your people are your responsibility. If things aren’t going the way you want them to, maybe it’s time for you to make a change in how you lead! 

Cindy Gordon is the owner of Business Rescue Coaching. Cindy works with people who want to inspire themselves and their team members to leave a memorable mark on others while building financially successful businesses.

Speak Your Mind

In Business Dailies

Sign up for a complimentary year of In Business Dailies with a bonus Digital Subscription of In Business Magazine delivered to your inbox each month!

  • Get the day’s Top Stories
  • Relevant In-depth Articles
  • Daily Offers
  • Coming Events