While our cultural stereotypes around leadership tend to favor traditionally masculine characteristics, it turns out that what individuals like in their leaders--if you take off the gender labels--tend to be feminine. Researchers John Gerzema and Michael D'Antonio took on the challenge of investigating this on a global scale by surveying 64,000 people in 13 countries about what they wanted in their leaders. They explored leadership characteristics through both a gendered and a non-gendered lens to correlate with high reliability what characteristics the best leaders should have. Answer: Feminine.
Their resultant book, The Athena Doctrine discovered that, not only do people prefer a balanced leadership style which skews feminine, but it has economic and social benefits as well. It turns out that the best leaders, the ones who do the most to improve their families, companies and communities, learn to leverage leadership traits that are people consider both feminine and masculine.
The video above is a wonderful tour of The Athena Doctrine's research. For a list of the top ten "feminine" leadership qualities of the ideal leader, check out my book review.
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