Women Entrepreneurs · Professional women

Women vs. Men in leadership?


May 14th, 2015

There is been a lot of talk lately about diversity and the gender pay gap lately. This article crossed my path and a couple quotes really piqued my interest:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/12/kevin-oleary-women-ceos_n_7261826.html


"They're so advanced at managing their time -- raising a family, taking care of kids, doing whatever else is necessary -- and doing something else, in addition to that, like running a business," he said. "So maybe it's their ability to manage time that is really taking them ahead in running small, large and mid-cap businesses."


"I think being a mom and running a successful household, having the qualities where you're good at nurturing are really key to running a good business. Because if you're nurturing you can inspire and you can develop your employees," Noonan said. "And if you have employees that listen to you and like you and are inspired by you, they are better workers, and I think you're more successful."


Do you think Mr. Wonderful is right about a difference between how men and women lead and interact?

Igor Chernyy

May 14th, 2015

Personally I think leadership is largely an individual quality. While gender role in our society has a huge effect on how you develop at an individual, at the end of the day it is an accumulation of all the factors that make or break a leader.

I have seen good and bad leaders on both sides of the gender. I think profiling individual leadership style based on their gender is rather shortsighted and close minded.

Shingai Samudzi

May 14th, 2015

I think at the executive leadership level - a level that so few actually reach much less excel win - such gender stereotypes are overblown, and even downright nonsense. Female executives have more in common personality-wise with male executives than with your rank-and-file employee.

As an individual contributor/employee, you have more freedom to revert to whatever type you are because your decisions and behaviors don't have as much impact. It's leadership's job to work with the people they have to get the results they need. To be a successful executive, there are certain traits that are almost prerequisite. The ones that spring to mind are ruthlessness, opportunism, competitiveness, focus, passion, and dedication. These are gender neutral qualities.

There's also the problematic nonsense of attributing the "nuturing" quality to women, purely on the basis of raising families. Men don't raise kids or manage households? You can only nurture in the context of children and family? Only men focus on business/career while leaving the spouse to handle the household? There are so many exceptions to the traditional stereotypes among executives, particularly among small-mid cap and startups, that I just don't see the point of beating this dead horse.

And as much as we keep beating this gender pay gap dead horse (in which people still drag out that discredited 77 cents on the dollar line) Women Now Control Majority of American Wealth

Greg Sherwin vp engineering + it • singularity university

May 15th, 2015

I think it's unfair and dangerous when we generalize people like this based on their sex, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.

If this were a discussion of attracting and promoting more women in leadership roles at start-ups, or even identifying and addressing potential pay gaps, that would be one thing.

But this thread was started on the premise of applying broad strokes to people in different social categories as an indicator of their leadership style -- regardless of whether they are warranted/applicable at the individual level or not. That does a disservice to everybody.

Judit Fabian Seasoned Finance Professional

May 14th, 2015

I think throwing around words, such as nurturing, can really be misleading as to the meaning of the article. Nurturing doesn't mean being cutsie and over-sensitive or more cuddly (in a non-physical way). Having been a mother gives you a more primal experience in every aspect of your life. When you have children you get a deeper experience of what matters and less tolerance for nonsense. Having to negotiate on behalf of your child to make sure they are being educated properly and they get the care they deserve gives you a whole new, very primal, dimension on how to manage the relationship with the members of "that village" that surrounds your child. That transfers into management skills as well. It doesn't mean that you say "aww" more often to people and give them more slack, but you learn how to get more value from people, how to appreciate what they have to offer more, which is always a good idea when you manage an organization. And of course, less time for everything really makes you more focused on what is most important.  

Singhal, I don't agree with your comment on the "gender gap dead horse". It is not a dead horse, it is a reality for women. I looked at the article you linked as well as the article that was linked to that, and none of them qualify the statement that "women control majority of American wealth". I think they mean that women make more purchasing decisions than men, but I don't see a proper explanation on what it means. Women certainly don't control the financial services or the corporate world, and certainly don't earn more than men by any stretch of the imagination.

Judit Fabian Seasoned Finance Professional

May 14th, 2015

Shingai, I appreciate a good set of statistics, but completely discrediting what the reality for many women is a bit out of order. Do you really think that women only getting 77% percent of what men get is miniscule? What would happen to your business if 23% of your revenues were cut? I don't think you would call that miniscule. Since you mentioned executive pay, there are far less women executives proportionally than women in the general workforce.

Nobody doubts that things have been improving for women, and I hope for the sake of my daughter that it continues to be so. No doubt that barriers have been broken down in the last 50 years. However, if you walk the executive hallways of large financial institutions, investment funds, women are mostly support staff. If you look at a lot of executive management teams, women are disproportionately underrepresented. I really hope that in my daughter's generation things will look like the way you describe it. Yes, things have gotten a lot better, but they are still not perfect, and the issue is not a dead horse.

Shingai Samudzi

May 15th, 2015

@Judit, For my age group (I'm 28), when comparing apples to apples, it's more like 93 cents on the dollar. Check out the data here: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/12/11/on-pay-gap-millennial-women-near-parity-for-now/ You can see that the pay trends for men and women is converging, and within the next 5 years or so, my age group will basically be on par for median hourly earnings. The reason I say the gender pay thing is a dead horse is that data shows convergence of median hourly pay within the next few years for my generation, the largest generation in today's workforce. Combined with the picture that women own a majority of financial assets, it's a positive picture for women. Sadly, it also shows that convergence is partially due to men getting paid less and less, instead of what you'd hope to see - convergence due to the growth rate of women's salary outstripping that of men. Which gets to my other point - the real problem is executive compensation and the fact that workers are getting less and less of a share of what is a growing pie of corporate profits. Access to executive roles is a different issue. Although, given the demographics, this is not an obstacle just faced by women. Basically, if you aren't male and white/Indian/East Asian your access to executive roles are limited outside of starting businesses that don't need institutional investors. That said, the healthcare industry is notably dominated by women, with many orgs having over 70% female workforces. Needless to say, there are many female execs.

Ayelet Baron Author of Our Journey to Corporate Sanity: Transformational Stories from the Frontier of 21st Century Leadersh

May 15th, 2015

The more we have the conversation, the more separation and fragmentation happen. There is so much scientific research that shows the benefits of diversity at all levels (thinking, culture, perspectives, gender, and the list goes on).. Having worked in Emerging Markets, where the gender issue is not legislated, there is so much to learn and I have been lucky to firsthand. What if we changed the conversation or shifted it? Magic would happen. We need to end this old story and start a new one.

Sue Freehoff Credit Consultant at The Mike Loring Group

May 19th, 2015

As a long-time career woman and mother, I am so sick and tired of hearing about gender gaps and how women are superior to men in every way, but yet, constantly being discriminated against.  I know this is one of the current popular PC topics, but I'm not a fan of PC. 

First, this article is not only far fetched, it's blatantly discriminatory.  It implies that a) all woman are or would be good mothers b) being a mother automatically qualifies a woman to run any corporation exceedingly well c) fathers are incapable of nurturing and d) men are, in general, are inferior to women. 

Second, this incessant obsession with the notion that only women are "victims" of unequal pay is self-defeating.  I wonder if women who subscribe to this never-ending victim status ever consider the fact that male employees are also discriminated against -- in pay, hiring and promotions. 

If a woman wishes to achieve in business (or anything else, for that matter), may I suggest that the first step is to quit whining and playing the victim whenever something doesn't go your way. 

In other words -- Grow Up Girls, and get over yourselves!

Rob Mitchell Independent Software Contractor

May 14th, 2015

In my experience, good and bad leadership is not really gender based. I've seen both genders for the past 30 years in business and there are some really good ones but lots of lousy ones. Do women and men have different styles? Again, I don't think its gender specific. The old tale that men are more aggressive and hunters etc compared to time-sensitive and great communicators portrayed by women is just that - old tales. 

Todd Terrazas

May 14th, 2015

Here is a better article.... http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-women-tech-letter-20150514-story.html