Posted by: danielledelucia | January 29, 2015

Another Great Women Theory of Leadership

In the first couple weeks of this course we discussed if women lead differently than men and if women have a distinct style. As we discussed the Great Women Theory of Leadership most people were upset with how the theory placed a woman in a box and basically saying all women must lead like this. Though some of the attributes applied to women seemed reasonable not just for women leadership but for all leadership styles. This theory was introduced to in the 1990’s some people still see this theory as good thing for women leadership. While I was researching for a topic to post on the blog I found a writer, Glenn Llopis,  on Forbes website writing about how women are undervalued as leaders, but he also writes about all these certain qualities that women have to make them good leaders.

After reading the article the Great Women Theory of Leadership popped into my head and how this article also described similar qualities that women have that would make them better leaders then men. This article was written 2014 and it astounds me that people still want to put women in a constraint box of only one way for a woman to lead. Though, Llopis means well to women it reminds me how prevalent stereotypes can be for gender and/or ethnicity and ruins opportunities for those who do not fit the mold in leadership.

It would be great if society could de-genderize leadership, but is that even possible.  Even when we do not mean to everyone stereotypes people without a second thought. So, the point is if stereotypes are so ingrained in society, will people have to break down and fit the mold or is there some way to change the stereotypes without being resented by others? Another question do you see Llopis as another version of the Great Women Theory of Leadership? Will this hurt or help women becoming leaders in our country?


  1. The idea of people breaking down to fit the mold has already been happening for hundreds of years. It often stems out of the idea that it is easier to follow the stereotypes than to try to change the whole system. But even if one person goes against societal stereotypes, does it matter? Or has the system so overwhelmed the power of the individual that it won’t make a difference anymore?
    Social Role Theory gets at the point that what people believe about gender and the associated stereotypes. It goes on to hint at the fact that people perceiving stereotypes have high expectations of these roles, and this largely creates the stereotypes, especially in everyday social interactions. Does this provide a window into fixing stereotypes? Is it possible to change our everyday social interactions in order to change the stereotypes on an individual basis, or will society again overpower that?
    Llopis’ article does have some validity to it. But it reinforces more negative things than positive things, and just supports gender roles and GWT, as you mentioned. I don’t believe this will really change how women have been becoming leaders in the country, due to the fact that it has already been happening for a long time. However, as society continues to talk about women’s leadership and their developing societal and gender roles, there is progress. If we can change cultural expectations by minimalizing sex-differentiated behavior, can we change the cultural stereotypes surrounding women’s leadership roles?

  2. I agree with you, it does remind me a lot of the “Great Women Theory” and I think everyone remembers just how much I loved that one. I understand that gender stereotypes are deeply ingrained in society and have helped us function for thousands of years, but society is far beyond the primitive age. Women don’t need to gather berries while the men are out hunting. Women and men can share responsibility for these basic roles and both are equally capable of functioning outside of the stereotype.
    Articles like this reinforce the idea that women must stay within their role to be “good leaders” or even surpass men in the leadership field. This is definitely not the case. Women of all sorts can be effective leaders so long as they lead effectively. i would love to discuss the idea of degendering leadership in class because I believe that it is completely possible. Leaders are judged on how they lead; basing judgement on factors like gender simply limit and suppress effective leaders by forcing them into the box.

  3. In order to break stereotypes, one must really stand for their cause and not worry about being resented. It can happen, independence from England, women’s right to vote, Civil Rights movement, and just recently the LGBT rights movement. There just has to be enough support and passion for the cause. It’s not going to happen in a day either. I don’t think a lot of people realize that. My big thing is we’re making progress, let’s revel in all the little victories as we shoot for our goal. Otherwise we’re always disappointed we’re not where we want to be and start being negative within our own campaign. Having a guideline to look at is awesome when learning to be leaders but we can’t limit ourselves to it. Similar to all theories the best thing is to combine them all and use each in all sorts of situations. That’s the number one rule of leadership, look at your situation and followers and be the leader they need at that time.

  4. I understand where for some this could be seen as to playing into the Great Women Theory and trapping women inside certain stereo-types, but I would disagree that it is doing that, and if it is I wish they would say these things about male leaders and men. The author I think is less defining women in certain ways than bringing rich new language into the conversation, that I believe is crucial to leadership. The six points/leadership styles he lays out that women tend to have is: opportunity driven, strategic, passionate, entrepreneurial, purposeful and meaningful, and finally family and tradition. Each of these adjectives used to describe women leaders are exactly what many people look for in leaders and the language is, in my opinion, very different than the language used in other texts. To me I see this type of leadership as crucial to leading change and being successful. I don’t see this as limiting women, but instead I see it as being a way for women to break free from typical stereo-types. I don’t think it is true to say that women and men aren’t different, no matter if they are socialized or not, I think there is an inherent difference at some level and our brains at least work in different ways, not saying that they are polar opposite. I think ideas of women leaders as described as above does more for women, than it retracts.

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