Forbes recently released its 2014 list of the Most Powerful Women. The top leaders on the list show great skill in bridging the gap between traditional “male” leadership styles and the traits that most commonly characterize females in these roles. A 2005 study conducted by Caliper and Aurora, two major consulting firms, found that women tend to have an inclusive, team-building leadership style that emphasizes problem-solving and uses failure and rejection as fodder for fueling improvement.
Many of the women mentioned by Forbes have earned a reputation for being able to combine both styles. For example, Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, is famous for her no-nonsense directness and persuasiveness, which stems from her charismatic leadership style. Both Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton also demonstrate how to achieve a balance between typically male and female leadership styles for the most effective approach possible.
Today’s world demands leaders that possess authority, as well as an understanding of how to connect with people and work toward the common good. The need for compassionate leadership will only grow in the future.