Perspective On Women Leadership: The Female Advantage, By Sally Helgensen

990 words - 4 pages

The reading assignment for this unit included reading several articles and one book in particular, The Female Advantage, by Sally Helgesen as an introduction into varying leadership styles. Leadership, as a honed craft is practiced continually in different ways and varying circumstances, no two individuals will have the same leadership style. Certain distinctive traits brought into the forum and on display for followers to observe. Some traits can be visible, clothing or skin color as examples, others, however, are not as visible such as upbringing or family situation. Each of these factors could play a role in the leadership style of a leader. One trait that the author of the book uses to distinguish leaders is gender. As much as men and women must be treated the fairly and equally, it cannot be denied that outside of the biological aspect, men and women are slightly different. Each gender brings a unique approach to leadership situations.

In the book, Sally Helgesen cites the “Feminine Principles” brought forth by Anita Roddick, who is the founder of The Body Shop as basic principles that could help to distinguish, or rather help to further define men and women leaders. The principles include, caring, making intuitive decisions, not getting hung up on hierarchy, having a sense of work being part of your life, putting labor where your love is, being responsible to the world and knowing that the bottom line should not be the only driving factor. These are the principles that encompass the “feminine principles” within the context of the text. While these principles are broad, they are not exclusive to women, however, women in general exhibit these qualities in more pounced ways than men.

Women, as a whole, tend to be more concerned with what others are thinking and their reactions and tend to express emotions in different ways. In general, men tend to be more brash and to the point. However, this does not mean they do not display these principles, the principles displayed but in different ways. In my squadron, for example, some male pilots tend to be exceedingly straightforward and upfront, which to some could come off as being rude or overbearing, but in all reality, this is showing that they care.

Of the four women in my squadron, myself and another woman of we as a general policy stick together, especially through difficult situations. In the military, women, regardless of rank, are more likely to take a junior under their wing and “show them the ropes” more so than what I have seen men do. With the military is a structure akin to a hierarchy or better known as "chain of command." Therefore, mentorship is one way women are able to gain exposure, advice and general guidance from fellow female officers on specific topics (promotion, childrearing, marriage). Many times this mentorship takes on a “web of inclusion” approach vice a typical top down rank structure of active duty forces with a more senior, more experienced female officer...

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