Women leaders are performing far better than men on almost every one of the key attributes identified as being the most critical to effective leadership, according to the third annual Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor (KLCM), a global study which polled 6,509 people in 13 countries across five continents for their views on effective leadership, effective communication and the link between the two.
Signaling the rise of a new "feminine" model for leadership communication, the research found that female leaders came out comfortably ahead on all of the top-four most crucial traits of effective leadership, including: leading by example (57 percent scored female leaders higher vs. 43 percent rating males better), communicating in an open and transparent way (62 percent vs. 38 percent), admitting mistakes (66 percent vs. 34 percent), and bringing out the best in others (61 percent vs. 39 percent). Male and female leaders came in roughly even on a fifth attribute, handling controversial issues or crises calmly and confidently (48 percent vs. 52 percent). In total, female leaders won out on five of the top seven traits examined by the research. And yet, the research also found that globally, male leaders narrowly edge out their female counterparts – 54 percent to 46 percent – as the gender the world expects to navigate us through the challenges of the next five years. "This is not to say that all future leaders should be women and that men have no place in leadership. Rather, our findings reveal vitally important lessons for leaders of both genders, as they continue to grapple with the ongoing leadership crisis," commented Rod Cartwright, Partner and Director of Ketchum's Global Corporate & Public Affairs Practice. Barri Rafferty, Ketchum Senior Partner and CEO, North America, added, "Our study clearly shows that to inspire trust, leaders of both genders need to avoid a 'macho,' command-and-control approach to leadership communication, which tends to be one-way, domineering and even arrogant. Instead, we are seeing the birth of a new model of leadership communication based on transparency, collaboration, genuine dialogue, clear values and the alignment of words and deeds, a model being followed far more consistently by female leaders.