gender bias

Gender Bias: The Trap of the Bossy Leader [Infographic]

The issue of gender parity in leadership roles has received a lot of attention from the business community in recent years. Progress is being made as more and more companies fill executive positions with qualified female candidates. What is often overlooked, however, is the very real gender bias faced by women who already serve in leadership roles. Many female leaders are trapped by the perception that they have to behave in accordance with traditional male stereotypes in order to be effective, but the truth is that most of the traits traditionally exhibited by each gender are seen as equally effective. Women who adopt male leadership behaviors are simply seen as bossy.

Research from Skyline Group International, a company dedicated to providing scalable leadership development and coaching across an organization, has found that both male and female employees see women who act in certain ways as bossy: Employees, both male and female, tend to perceive demanding, assertive women with a commanding presence as bossy and unapproachable. At the same time, both groups believe that female leaders who use more inclusive strategies are just as effective as male leaders.

Beating Gender Bias

Right or wrong, this kind of gender bias exists. In the infographic below, Skyline Group International has identified the seven behaviors that are most often perceived negatively in female leaders. It’s important to remember, however, that while these behaviors may, traditionally, be more acceptable to employees when exhibited by male leaders, avoiding them and finding better ways to motivate and get things done, can be beneficial to leaders of either gender.

Employees may view male and female leaders differently, but a balanced approach can help any leader be more effective. The struggle for gender equality in business is about more than just numbers. When women in leadership no longer feel the need to adhere to dated, masculine stereotypes, and employee perceptions shift away from traditional notions of strong leadership, gender will no longer enter the equation. A good leader will simply be a leader who inspires success.

In the end, isn’t that the meaning of equality?



The above infographic was provided by Skyline Group International.



There’s a more human way to do business.

  • Maggie Marriott

    I know bias exists for gender, skin colour, disability, religion, sexuality etc and I don’t think it would be acceptable to produce an infographic for those beyond gender, so please don’t think it is ok to produce these for women.

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