Leadership is based on two words, “pressure and support” and that the leadership is the power to influence people to move in a direction that you believe in your heart is a good direction for most people” (Fennell, 1999, p. 267). Adams and Yoder noted that “evidence from contemporary studies on sex-roles and leadership indicates that men and women, with similar education, career aspirations and training, have basically identical scores on measures of psychological masculinity and femininity.” In other words, the traits we assume are important in good leadership can be found among people of both genders.
What makes a leader is a complex question. It includes factors from the environment in which an individual was raised, his or her family situation, and his or her personality traits. . The following discussion is a summary of my own observations plus some of the conclusions of others
According to an overview of research conducted by me, women are a fast-growing segment of the business community worldwide. The leadership characteristics required to make a success in this new reality are very much “feminine characteristics”. These characteristics include:
1) Self-confidence, an independent mindset, and a willingness to take risks
2) Ability to balance work and family (most are married)
3) Self-confidence, an independent mindset, and a willingness to take risks
4) About 40 to 60 years old
5) Well educated with high skills in management and entrepreneurship
6) Integration of personal and profession
8) Social skills
10) Hires competent, trustworthy people (not putting a priority on loyalty)
11) See communication and conflict resolution as key to organizational success
12) Women tend to lead in different ways.Namely, women leadership strategy is based on family pattern. It means that
women tend to view solving problems differently than men. Women tend to be more holistic in their thinking.
13) Leaders must be conscious of what is perceived by others and develop strategies that are proactive in building success. Marcano (1997) described this as “know thyself” and further stated that it is important, to be honest, and objective when evaluating your strengths and abilities, as well as your goals
14) Continual professional growth
15) Leaders need to have a clear sense of their own vision and beliefs
Researching – A case study of Serbia
I presented the latest results of researching related to women leaders and their position in the business world,i.e. how does people look at ( divided into sex,ages and level of education) women leaders and if they trust them. My scientific task was to make some conclusions and to point out some special characteristics of Serbia and the Balkan region. We can see different opinions related to our questions:
Do you trust to women-leaders? Could they be equally successful in the business world as men?
o Interviews conducted from 1.476 people,726 women, and 750 men
o Interviewed people were between 18 and 60 years old
o In the whole structure of respondents 30% were owners
o 73 % were married,19 % single and 8% divorced.
o A few key findings are listed below:
o The barriers to women’s advancement in business are remarkably similar across Balkan region and the biggest cities in Serbia- Belgrade, Novi Sad, and Nis.
o The women respondents trust women leaders (63 %) and most of them prefer to work in some firm where is a woman leader or executive manager. Also, they think that women want to reach the top, and are equally ambitious as men.
o Most respondents (60%) say that Corporate Culture is the most significant barrier to women achieving top executive positions, while only twenty-nine percent (29%) think work/family balance is a significant barrier to advancement and 36% believe that a lack of self-promotion holds women back from achieving top-level positions
o The majority of men in research had a negative attitude against women executives. In other words, they expressed stereotypes and preconceptions about women’s roles and abilities in business. Men stress that women have lack of general management experience ,lack of skills and knowledge and lack of role models.
Respondents among men almost gave similar replies related to our questions as a following :
1.We are here Balkan and we are argue for traditional model of society
2. Women have been fighting for equal rights for nearly all of the time and now that they have it they expect special treatment because they are females
3.I do not trust women in business and I do not accept them seriously
4.I am afraid of those women
5. I hate the feminist community and culture
6. Women must stay at home and be leaders in their families but not in business word. Leader position in business is reserved for men
7. Women leaders are actually men dressed as women
It is very interesting that a great amount of men do not make difference between women leaders and women feminists ,who are not very popular in this region. And about 20 % of women respondents in the research share mentioned opinion with the men.
About 10 % of men respondents are afraid of women’s domination in the business world because it could change the natural balance between women and men and to decrease the traditional role of men in society and family. Therefore, they would not like the domination of business women in the 21 st century.
It is also very indicative that among young women (18-35) exist the great interest for leadership and entrepreneurship and they more than earlier explore opportunities to reach their professional goals. Namely, they expressed their opinion with the following words:
1. Female owners and leaders have more of a struggle because they are females and no one will take them seriously so they have to push and make themselves known to the world and allow the world to see their capabilities while male owners don’t have to worry about the struggle of fitting in and trying to live and work up to societies standards because since they are men they already have the macho man persona and the alter-ego that men have.
2. Women have to fight harder and be stronger if they want to live and work in a man’s world you have to adopt to the surrounding don’t expect a man to be a gentleman and hold the door open for you, don’t expect him to do anything out of the ordinary that a man would do for a female because in a sense you should be getting treated like his fellow counterparts and not expect differently. In order to fit in with the men you have to in a sense think, work and act like them meaning don’t think that they will treat you like the female you are. You have to be strong not every man that you encounter will treat you like this but in order to show off your strengths you should expect this.
3. It’s extremely obvious that women have come a long way as successful professionals. Life in the workplace has become much more diversified as an increased number of women have made their presence felt in many industries and professions. The female task force has expanded with exponential strength and thus has its dire importance in the professional world. Whether they like it or not, men have to accept, once and for all, that women are marching up the corporate ladder confidently and with full speed ahead.
4. Women used to be much more “quiet and passive” in the workplace due to the relatively small number of female employees in comparison to males. Women today, on the other hand, have begun assuming their positions by using all their God-given powers of intelligence and organization. Warren Farrell, the author of Why Men Are the Way They Are, explains that men are jealous of the “beauty power” that allows women to get certain things based on their physical assets. Perhaps it’s less that women use their beauty, and more likely that men judge them based on their physical beauty
5. The reasons that people start and lead business among women is to bring in and focus on a clientele of the main women. Most times women start business that deal with products that women use, such as clothes, makeup and home products. The most successful companies run by women are ones that use women’s special skills. These special skills are style, fiscal sense, and public relations. Their strengths as business owners are their public relations and the clientele they bring in. Their weakness as business owners is the overcoming of sexism that exists. Their biggest fear is finding clientele that will do business with a woman. I think these men feel this way because they are insecure.
6. I simply think that women just became even more smarter. Speaking from a personal point of view, I know that being happy and successful is very important to me. They go hand in hand. Most of the women I know feel the same way. I believe that as the years progress women will be involved in an even bigger part of the economy, because young girls are going to follow their female role models.
7. Personally I feel that some high qualified positions are better suited to a women because men have humungous ego problems
8. I personally think that women can do whatever men do sometimes better. there has always been a glass ceiling for women in the workforce however, many women are getting closer to this ceiling and some of them have at least attempted to break through this ceiling. the reason many people think that women are not capable of being in the work force is because of the connotation that has been here for like for ever, “women should stay home and take care of the home”.
9. We need to stop complaining about how much work we have or how hard it is and just complete it. The more we complain about the work, the more the man is going to say that things should go to how they used to be in the old days, which was The man works and when he comes home he gets treated as if he is something golden and special while telling us we are worthless. The woman can not go to work because she needs to stay home with the children and cook and clean the house. I am glad I live in this century because honestly, I do not know how I would’ve been able to live up to those expectations
At last, we can conclude that the woman is now much more motivated and ready to reach their professional dreams and be leaders ,not only in Serbia and Balkan region , but all over the world then they once were. Until recently, entrepreneurship was considered by many to be the last bastion of male dominance in the business world. This is no longer true. More businesses are now being started by women than are being started by men. However,there are still a lot of men who don’t think women should be in these positions and hold no respect for them at all. As time goes on, women are going to be a bigger and bigger part of the business world, and these men are just going to have to accept it and face a reality check because no matter what they feel and how much they are against it, the world is changing and it’s going to happen regardless of how they feel.