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Study: Women Are Simply Better Leaders During Times Of Crisis

Study: Women Are Simply Better Leaders During Times Of Crisis

Studies also show that women-led countries fared better during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Anne Dorall

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The Harvard Business Review made a claim that would have surprised anyone else but women.

According to their research, women leaders are doing a better job than their male counterparts, a difference that was particularly magnified during the crisis of the global pandemic.

Women leaders performed better

The researchers measured leader performances with their Extraordinary Leader 360-degree Assessment, which were taken both pre-pandemic and during-pandemic. In both instances, women leaders performed better, but the difference was more pronounced during the pandemic.

This round, women leaders performed better in 13 out of 19 core competencies, with statistically significant results.

Credit: Harvard Business Review

Why do we need women during times of crisis?

According to the report, employees who worked directly under women leaders rated them significantly better in terms of engagement than those who worked under male leaders.

Respondents during this time particularly focused on interpersonal skills that engaged the employees, giving higher ratings to leaders who showed collaboration and teamwork, with a focus on inspiring, motivating, and building relationships within their team.

Women leaders displayed more of those skills, resulting in higher ratings for them.

These skills might even translate to better crisis management as well, as multiple studies have shown that countries led by women leaders fared better during the Covid-19 pandemic than other countries.

What the people really want

However, gender aside, the main point of the research was to show that employees want leaders who empathize with them during times of crises. Particularly, employees are looking for leaders who are able to pivot and learn new skills, displays honesty and integrity, emphasizes employee development even when times are tough, and shows understanding of the stress, anxiety, and frustrations that their employees are feeling.

While women leaders seem to display more of these characteristics, the researchers urge all leaders, regardless of gender, to step up during these trying times.


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