Mixed Leadership: Classic Leadership Fallacies Between Men and Women

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One of the fundamental errors of mixed leadership: male and female managers have to “get along somehow” and “please concentrate mainly on the task at hand.” Nonsense! To work together successfully, they need to understand each other's language - and act accordingly.

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Here writes for you:


Dr. Cornelia Topf Best of HR – Berufebilder.de®Dr. Cornelia Topf is a certified business coach and international management trainer.


From the author:




Venus and Mars

While women tend to emphasize their shortcomings without need and without being asked - "I've already read a hundred books on the subject, but I'm still unsure." - Men tend to go through their day-to-day management with grotesque self-confidence.

You have no inhibitions about talking about "my department", "my shop", or "my team" for "I" hiring someone, even if, on closer inspection, hiring decisions are not made by a single person.

The empathy highway

There are also these differences when it comes to empathy. Women have a highway for this, men a country road, says Louann Brizendine, at least. An emotionally poor man is hardly noticeable among men because he is not unique. The solidarity of the emotionally anorexic colleagues supports him.

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Find men, too much compassion prevents victory, free according to the motto: I do not want and must not understand my opponent, but flatten. Women, on the other hand, are often so understanding and empathetic that they think more about the needs of others than of one's own.

Benefited from the opposites

And men feel completely solvable in pure men's teams: multi-view and multi-task only come to the fore when women participate, now only some men suspect they are missing at least 360 degrees from the 180 degree problem view, many of them are tunnel-looking on road.

This helps in the decision pace, which dispels doubts, but for the quality of the solutions it can be catastrophic.

What men and women can learn from each other

Teams and executives are more successful when men and women work together, rather than against each other - as has been shown by numerous studies of teamwork and women's participation in leadership teams. An overview of the results of scientists on the subject.

Men, show the girls where their empathy crosses helpful and bearable limits, where they think more of others than of themselves out of sheer empathy, girls, shows the men that not only is both possible but also useful: mind and feeling. Benefit from your contrasts, complement yourself!

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A study published in the specialist journal Science confirms the assumption that the collective intelligence of the group can indeed be greater than the sum of the single cell indices. The analysis of the data showed that women in the team significantly increased the collective thought performance in the team statistically.

"That was a surprise," says co-author Thomas Malone of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the study didn't aim to identify a gender effect.

Empathy as a recipe for success

The researchers do not believe gender is the key variable. Rather, the study showed that working in a group is the most productive when participants have social empathy. They must be able to recognize the emotions of others.

Conversely, if the discussion is dominated by a person, no matter how intelligent, it will hurt collective intelligence. The authors therefore recommend setting personal qualities in the composition of teams. So if you want to ruin a company, it's best to regularly call male groups of egomaniacal eggheads together.

What does the research say?

Studies by management consultants McKinsey and Accenture show that Company work better with especially well-mixed teams than those with lonely wolves at the top ..

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In the years 2003 to 2005, the companies with the highest proportion of women in management positions had an 48% higher profit (EBIT) than the respective branch average. This has resulted in an analysis by Mckinsey among all major listed companies in Europe.

The largest companies in Europe in the analysis

A study by Accenture comes to the same conclusion. Accenture has analyzed the 358 largest companies from 24 countries in Europe. The higher the proportion of women in management positions with personnel responsibility, the greater the profit.

“More fairness on the job market, in companies, in teams brings more welfare for everyone.” reveal the analyzes by Francine.D. Blau, which received the IZA Prize (Institute for the Future of Work) in Bonn.

Short and sweet

  • Men and women give clear signals! Learn the foreign language of the other!
  • Ask for God's sake!
  • The best putty for every mixed double: said probably not meant.

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  1. Sophia

    I think many companies could benefit from equally distributed leadership roles. Each person is different, but there are also differences in the sexes. Some are more self-confident, others more empathetic, etc. You just have to use this right and use it.
    Unfortunately, the company doesn't seem to have fully understood it yet. “However, in a good seven out of ten companies, the executive board is still made up entirely of men.” (see https://www.hrblue.com/de/mixed-leadership-barometer/). But I think that will change over time. (At least that's what I hope ;-) )

    • Simone Janson

      Dear Sophia,
      Thank you for your comment, you are right. I had researched the subject once and none of the supposedly highly acclaimed companies wanted to say anything on the subject. I therefore fully agree with you, there is a lot of talk about the topic, but the implementation ...
      But I hope the best, too.

  2. Business network team

    RT @trainees Success through mixed leadership: Classical misunderstandings.

  3. Trainee whispers

    Success through mixed leadership: Classical misunderstandings.

  4. lucky subjugate

    Series - Success through Mixed Leadership: Classic Leadership ...: One of the fundamental fallacies of mixed Leadership ...

  5. Simone Janson

    Freshly Logged: Series - Success Through Mixed Leadership: Classic Leadership Errors

  6. Competencepartner

    Series - Success through Mixed Leadership: Classic Leadership Mistakes: One of the Fundamental Mistakes ...

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