November 30, 2015

Research Says: What Women Want in Their Leaders

Study: What Women Want in Their Leaders (Harvard Business Review, 2012, Vongalis-Macrow, Gallant)

Finding: The assumption that “what women want” is to work for women, isn’t necessarily true.

Note about The Woman Effect Research Index: This study was performed by researchers not affiliated with InPower Women. Our Research Index includes all relevant research to the subject of women, business and power. We do not influence how the research was conducted or reported by the researchers. In our abstracts, we focus on pulling out the most actionable advice for individual women. To suggest additional research we should index, or discuss our choice of abstract focus, please contact us

InPower Insight: Leadership is gender neutral.


In a study where mid-career women were surveyed and interviewed about the skills they admired in their leaders, and the leadership qualities they felt helped them advance, here were the five things researchers   determine that male and female leaders can do to lead well and support aspiring women.

  1. The presence of hard and soft leadership skills is key. Women were found to like leaders who had both communal and aggressive skills.
  2. Women like leaders who are quick- thinking and decisive in their actions. Apparently, there is such a thing as “too much” consultation and discussion.
  3. Women desire leaders who have a vision and direction for the future.
  4. Women appreciate leaders who have emotional intelligence.
  5. Women seeks leaders who essentially do just that, lead. They do not wish to work with individuals consumed with holding on to their position rather than taking important risks and innovation.

Career Coaching Tip: What women want in leadership are good leaders. Good leaders master a range of skills that are usually associated with both men and women. Whether you’re a man or a woman, know where your natural strengths are, appreciate them and master a few more that balance what you do naturally well. This strategy will work to support both the men and women working for you.

Category: Cultural Trends

Keywords: women leaders, support, what women want, leadership

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Photo Credit: David Reece

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April Sweazy (128 Posts)

April is a writer, budding artist and deep soulful woman who has spent her career protecting women in every way you can imagine (and maybe some you can’t). Read April’s posts and follow her on Google+ and Twitter.

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