The article presents a variety of leadership approaches created by female executives. These approaches disregard the traditional style of command and control leadership and substitute it with a new method, which was named by the author as “interactive leadership.” Unlike traditional leadership that is often based on mutual “transactions” between the leader and their team, interactive leadership is focused on close interactions with the subordinates. It allows the employees to contribute to the project, which makes them feel more engaged and motivated at their workplace. In fact, encouraging participation is one of the core aspects of interactive leadership. It involves making people feel like they are a part of the team and trying to create a solid group identity. Different strategies are presented in the article, with the main goal of creating interactions between people who are not as likely to interact with subordinates during their work. However, the possibility of this strategy going wrong is considered.
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The second aspect of interactive leadership is focused on sharing power and information. The author points out that to facilitate healthy communication throughout the team, it has to be a two-way flow. Feedback should not only come from the leader to the subordinates but should also come from subordinates to the leader. A culture of transparency is encouraged where the leader does not hide the information from their subordinates. The participation of the team members is valued, and every member of the team is included in deliberations on important topics. The article points out that these leadership styles have developed naturally from women who found themselves in positions where they had to negotiate and communicate with a lot of people to fulfill their goals. It concludes by suggesting that there is no “best” way to be a leader and that different situations can call for different styles of leadership.
Alternative leadership styles have shown to be effective in the modern business world. The presented article was written multiple decades ago, but the styles of leadership it describes have become very popular since then. Also, it provides an important point that in business, there is no perfect way of leading that can solve any issue.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The strengths of the article lie in the description of innovative leadership approaches and strategies. The concept of interactive leadership is presented clearly and could be implemented by any executive regardless of their gender. More modern studies have shown that creating a personal connection with the team members can indeed improve the productivity of the team. The same could be said about transparency in communication and two-way feedback. The flexibility of leadership was also mentioned, and it reflects modern ideas of effective leadership.
The weaknesses of the article are in its generalization of female leadership. Despite different women presenting different examples of their leadership approaches, the author unifies them into a single concept of interactive leadership. This does not make it inaccurate. However, a more subdivided list of approaches could be useful for the reader. Another issue lies in the conclusion of the article, where the author assumes that the implementation of these techniques can lead to the elimination of the glass ceiling. Unfortunately, even after similar leadership approaches became commonplace, complete equality between men and women in the workplace was not achieved.
Lessons Learned from the Article
The article has shown me that the flexibility of leadership is important and beneficial. It has presented a possible origin for modern leadership techniques that have a strong similarity to the inclusive and communicative interactive leadership.