Blanchard & Walker Weekly

Topic of the Week  Women on Top: Women Hold the Leadership Edge

  • Be expressive.
  • Plan for the future.
  • Decisive.
  • Reasonable.

 Women on Top: Women Hold the Leadership Edge

We can argue about many things: paper vs. plastic bags, cloth vs. disposable diapers, but the days of debating men vs. women bosses are clearly over. Spoiler alert: according to a recent study, women have an 80% advantage when it comes to the key skills needed to be an effective leader today. Which reminds me of the newest gourmet lollipop from Lollyphile, for $10 you can get four breast milk flavored lollypops. Owner Jason Darling was quoted by News of the Weird saying that his friends were "producing milk so delicious it could turn a screaming, furious child into a docile, contented one. I knew I had to capture that flavor."

I'm not trying to shamelessly milk this topic, but if you're a guy you should probably order case of those lollypops before you read any further. According to a study done by the authors of "The Athena Doctrine," women have a clear leadership advantage. 32,000 people rated 125 different human characteristics as either masculine, feminine or neither. Then the authors asked 32,000 other people to rate which characteristics were most important for leadership today. Men scored highest on exactly TWO of the ten most highly rated leadership characteristics, 3. Decisive and 8. Resilient. Women, on the other hand, rated highest on EIGHT of the ten, 1. Expressive, 2. Plans for the future, 4. Reasonable, 5. Loyal, 6. Flexible, 7. Patient, 9. Intuitive, 10. Collaborative. Here are some tips for how to lead better no matter what sex you are.

Be expressive. People like to hear how they're doing, especially when the feedback is positive. Since you probably haven't hired a staff of mind readers, it's up to you to tell them. Initially I was surprised that this was at the top of the list, but the more I thought about it the more sense it made to me.

Plan for the future. The recession made us all more appreciative of people who have a plan for the challenges that lie ahead. What's even better? Getting your people involved in the planning process.

Decisive. Hey guys, this is our one victory for the top seven skills of leaders today. Given how quickly work and competitors can move today, most of us want a boss who is willing to make decisions and to stand by them. But remember, this doesn't mean that you have to make the decisions all on your own.

Reasonable. This is the most interesting word on the list because I can't remember hearing it once during the two years that I studied to get my MBA. Not once. Mom always talked about the importance of being reasonable and fair, sounds like she'd got great leader written all over her.

Okay, I'll admit it. On more than one occasion I've referred to the leaders of an organization as "suits." But after reading this study, I think I'm going to refer to them from now on as skirts or even pants-suits, because that's clearly what the best are wearing.

Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

Thought of the Week

"Many women live like it's a dress rehearsal. Ladies, the curtain is up and you're on.""

–Mikki Taylor

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Blog of the Week

Top Five News Headlines

    List of the Week

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