March 26th, 2019

Leadership in the Modern Age

We often ask, “What does it take to be a good leader?” Is it the most assertive and gregarious person or the reserved and thoughtful individual? In our society, conventional wisdom dictates that extroverts make the best leaders, yet a growing body of evidence suggests that introverts can make better leaders in many scenarios. Regardless of the personality traits, good leadership is not defined by gender. 
For women, navigating the business world can be an especially challenging process, whether they are extroverted or introverted. By nature, women are viewed as nurturing and supportive. Conversely, men are traditionally seen as aggressive and bold. Since these more assertive traits are most often favored in leadership roles, potential leaders with a more thoughtful and reserved style are often missed.

A decade ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that women and men attained a bachelor’s degree at virtually the same rates. Today, women account for more than 56 percent of students represented on nationwide university campuses. However, just 16 percent of women are in leadership roles and are 18 percent less likely to be promoted than men. The historical imbalance and gender bias against women in the workplace are painfully clear.

There are many capable women who are often overlooked for leadership roles. While overlooking women simply because they are women is ethically and legally out of bounds and introverts of both genders face similar challenges, women who are not assertive by nature can be particularly challenged. This is especially true when working with male counterparts with traditionally favored assertive styles. But to succeed in the competitive marketplace, organizations must create an environment that values the skills and ideas of all workers and address the inherent bias towards assertive personalities that can impact women disproportionally.


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