Marshall Memorial Fellowship: The Competitive Edge of Women in Leadership
Everybody discusses about how different are men and women when they lead an organization, a group of people or a new project. Women’s leadership is a crucial issue and it is obvious that women’s way is different than men’s way.
Better? Worse? No. Just different.
During my Marshall Memorial Fellowship and immersion in American culture, I had the opportunity to reflect on the intersection of gender and leadership, and to discuss the topic with peers, both women and men, in leadership positions.
What are the attributes of “women’s” leadership? I believe women demonstrate different leadership competencies across many fields: social, political, economic, and academic.
Being inspiring: women tend to be more inspiring on some specific issues. They also tend to be more passionate, and that really becomes crucial at specific times, in critical and complex situations. At certain times, communicating with passion your efforts and dreams in any project can make the key difference.
Being trusted: trust is a crucial concept in order to make any team work. And being trusted has a lot to do with the value you add to any project. One of the main problems women have is that they may not be part of formal networks. This would come later on, but the fact that adding good work and valuable content would definitely create this atmosphere of better trust among colleagues.
Being honest: keeping and making growth your reputation is important for all leaders. Woman are known for working hard and taking risks.
Being determined: because of the increased barriers they face, many women have had to be persistent, working hard both for the others and for themselves. This determination sometimes makes a marked difference between women and men in leadership positions.
Building effective teams: women tend to build teams including diverse people, where input from many dimensions is rewarded. People that have critical points of view and their own opinions should also be included on these teams.
What is most clear is that women in leadership tend to be more pragmatic, clear, and determined. Not better or worse. Just different. And the world needs women’s leadership in order to prosper.
Marta Pascal Capdevila, a Member of Parliament of Catalonia, is a Spring 2016 European Marshall Memorial Fellow.