I’ve long believed that women make better leaders than men do, but I’m not sure I ever said it out loud until I was touring to promote my book People Leadership: 30 Strategies to Ensure Your Team’s Success, and someone asked me point blank, “Do you think women or men make better leaders?”
My response was immediate: “Women.”
It appears this question is making itself known in the universe, because at the iCONIC conference in Los Angeles this June, The Container Store CEO Kip Tindell gave a speech in which he said that he, too, believes that women make better leaders than men do, and gave three reasons why. So the results are in: Women really do make better leaders. Why? Here are five reasons.
1. Women listen
I think women are born with an innate understanding that God gave us two ears and one mouth on purpose. Yeah, yeah, some significant others and offspring might beg to differ — but the fact is, women are great listeners. When someone speaks to us about something important, we're there — and you better believe we are going to give our undivided attention. We really want to hear what the other person has to say and be there for them in their time of need — an excellent quality in a leader.
2. Women collaborate
Women have a genuine passion for working with others. We like to share ideas and come up with solutions that will be effective for everyone involved in the process. That means that as leaders, we’re good at giving every team member a chance to voice their opinion and be a part of the conversation.
3. Women are accessible
Accessibility is not just about being physically available, it is about having an open mind and heart, and psychologists say that women are more adept at being open, likely because of their motherly instinct and desire to provide for others. This innate compassion means that women are more likely to be supportive of individuals at all levels of their organization, regardless of their rank or title.
4. Women focus on personal growth
Women are readers and learners. We are very open to and interested in finding ways to continuously improve our personal skills. This focus on our development makes us more self-aware, which enables us to have a very strong emotional intelligence, a key trait of successful leaders.
5. Women motivate
Women are natural cheerleaders. We love discovering what motivates people into action and we are excited to hand out words of encouragement, thank-yous, gifts for jobs well done and pats on the back, which could explain why Gallup’s 2015 State of the American Manager report says that people who work for women leaders are more engaged than those who work for men.
The business world needs more women leaders because, quite frankly, we are just better at leading people. With that in mind, I encourage all you women out there to use your natural talents and step up to leadership!
Originally published September 2015. Updated April 2017.