March 17, 2011

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The Qualities That Distinguish Women Leaders

posted in Leadership

Hello Competitive Edge Readers,

Before I dive into today’s post on qualities that distinguish women Leaders, I need to talk about the disaster happening in Japan.  The devastation is beyond words. I felt incredibly thankful and lucky when our Caliper office in Tokyo informed us that all of our associates are fine and the office sustained only minor damage.  Obviously millions of others have not been so fortunate. I’m taking this opportunity to ask all of you to donate whatever you can to help provide some relief to those who are so desperately in need. At Caliper we take our commitment to helping others very seriously and encourage you to do the same. If you are not sure how or where to donate, here is a great website that can help:  Charity Navigator

A sincere thank you,


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On to today’s post…

The Qualities That Distinguish Women Leaders


We were first asked to compare women leaders in England with those in the U.S.  While there were a couple of rather interesting results, a couple of counter intuitive, the basic truth was there was not much difference between U.K. and U.S. women leaders.

We then decided to compare the women leaders to the thousands of male leaders we already had in our database. Briefly, the results were interesting and, in some cases, somewhat unexpected.

As we summarize the results, keep in mind that the male leadership group was very strong in all the categories we’ll mention. But, interestingly the women leaders were even stronger.

We found that women leaders were more assertive, persuasive, and more willing to take risks. And they were also more empathic and flexible, as well as stronger in interpersonal skills than their male counterparts. These qualities combine to create a new leadership style that is inclusive, open, consensus building, collaborative and collegial.

The trait that women leaders scored somewhat lower on than their male counterparts, though not significantly lower, was their ego-strength, or resilience—the ability to bounce back from disappointment or rejection.  But, because they possess stronger interpersonal skills (empathy, flexibility and sociability) and are more assertive than the male leaders, they are able to take the sting of disappointment, learn from it, and carry on with an “I’ll show you” approach. So, rejection, rather than being a defeating event, can for the assertive woman be a motivator on a greater level to conquer the next opportunity.

To read the complete white paper on the findings of the study, and to learn how women are changing the face of leadership, click here.

Herb Greenberg qualities women leaders

by Herb Greenberg, Caliper founder & CEO

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