Leaders are from Venus and Mars

I noticed some new 360 UK survey analysis findings  from Talent Innovations on leadership gender differences. To be honest I usually get irritated by “Men are from Mars and Women from Venus” type articles and the often unsubstantiated generalizations. However  this  analysis is based upon 14,000 360 feedback summaries from UK leaders and managers so I figured it was worth a look.

Talent Innovations  tried to identify the differences in how men and women were rated against a set of 18 generic managerial and leadership competencies.

In summary, women scored higher than men in the competencies of planning and managing activities, respect & empathy for others and personal responsibility. Men score higher in strategic vision, commercial focus and personal impact. They tend to be less socially-sensitive and are more focused on the rational, practical and commercial aspects of achieving results.

There was no information on how the ranges of results by gender overlapped each other.

According to Elva Ainsworth, managing director of Talent Innovations “Men and women tend to excel in different aspects of leadership. The ‘male leadership style’ is strategic and visionary, while the ‘female leadership style’ is more social.”

On one hand, this study highlights the general areas in which men and women may need leadership development. However, on the other, it suggests that the natural styles of men and women could be complementary.

It might be an interesting question to ponder: Would a culture that supported diversity and a better balancing of both types of leadership  could bring about higher organisation performance?

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