There have been many myths about women and leadership, especially with more and more women rising worldwide to leadership roles. With the current pandemic, there has been a pattern that countries with female leadership, such as New Zealand, Germany, and Sweden, have survived the COVID-19 pandemic systematically better with fewer losses in lives and the economy. However, it turns out that this is not limited to country performance but to the workplace too. A research conducted by the Harvard Business review through the months between March and June of 2020 women were rated by those who work with them as more effective.
The gap between previous research before the pandemic between men and women leadership performance usually indicated that women performed better on some aspects while men outperformed on others leaving the gap negligible. The gap the research in the pandemic present is larger than previously measured, thus suggesting that women tend to perform better during crises. In fact. The term “glass cliff” was coined based on that fact; it is quite common in institutes that women have a “glass ceiling” of leadership when the situations are stable, but often more than not in crises women are called in to handle the situation due to having some skills that will be elaborated further.
The study was measured on 19 skills that constitute the essential leadership skills using a global database. The scores were determined by those who worked with the subjects. The skills on which women leaders significantly outperformed their male counterparts were employee engagement, taking initiative, high integrity and honesty, and communication. Employees ranked their female leaders on points like “inspires and motivates,” “communicates powerfully,” “collaboration/teamwork,” and “relationship building,” all of which suggest women master employee engagement much more significantly than men. Those findings match with findings of previous research comparing US male and female governors; the main finding was that female leaders are able to articulate on their employees emotions
and express “more awareness of fears that followers might be feeling.”
One very important aspect of the data we gathered through the Harvard Business Review research is main qualities valued in leaders during times of crises regardless of gender. Leaders who are able to pivot through mishaps and learn out of any givens can carry out their systems at times of crises. Another very important finding was that at times of crisis prioritizing effective communication and employee development can prevent lots of negative outcomes. What this research shows is that these qualities are more manifested in women due to both psychological and cultural aspects, but any leader should strive to have those qualities regardless of timing and gender.