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Are Female Leaders Responding Better to the Pandemic? - CNN

As the entire world works to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the role of effective leadership has been brought into razor sharp focus. What people need now are leaders with empathy, compassion and an ability to show support — skills that women leaders tend to exhibit more than men. While it may take a global pandemic to finally acknowledge the unique talents and capabilities women leaders offer, companies shouldn't wait until there is a crisis to afford women an opportunity to lead.

While there is insufficient data to conclude that women world leaders are managing the Covid-19 pandemic more effectively, the emerging trends are hard to ignore. New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has been widely praised for her clear, bold and supportive approach to flattening the curve. The results of her clear communication — 20 deaths in a country of nearly 5 million people — speak for themselves. Or consider German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has called for and established unity in the nation's response to the virus. Taiwan and Norway's national responses to this crisis have also proved to be effective to date, and they all have one thing in common — women leaders.

It's a trend we've seen before. The 2008 financial crash and resulting crisis was a result of irresponsible risk taking that ultimately came down to leadership and organizational priorities. Research examining risk-taking behavior finds that men are more prone to taking higher risks. Increased collective risk-taking behavior contributed to the crisis, which was an outcome of male-dominated workplaces that valued individual achievement and competition rather than collective well-being.

Subsequent research found that women tend to adopt a more relational approach to leadership, which is more effective in a crisis compared to the more traditional command-and-control style of leadership typically adopted by men. Overall, women leaders adopt a relational style when leading through a crisis, which is highly effective as they focus on building trust, alleviating fears and managing the crisis at hand.

Source: CNN


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