What Makes a Good Leader

Today, George Kohlrieser is the Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at the International Institute for Management Development. Sounds like a tame job, right? But Kohlrieser used to be a hostage negotiator – a position that helped him write his award-winning book, Hostage at the Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others and Raise Performance.

During his speech at the World Business Forum last weekend, Kohlrieser asked an interesting question:

Do men or women make better leaders?

If you said women, you are correct!

Of course, some women are terrible leaders – just as some men are great ones. But generally speaking, women tend to make better leaders because they are good at making connections. But female leaders have a weakness too. In order for a woman to become a great leader, she must learn how to handle conflict.

Men have the exact opposite issue. While men tend to be good at handling conflict, many men don’t learn the caring, bonding techniques that women do when they’re young. This lack of bonding makes them unapproachable and thus not great leaders.

According to Kohlrieser, both men and women can combat these issues via the lessons they learned from their fathers. A woman with a father who managed conflict well is much more likely to be a better leader, as is a man with a father who was good at bonding.

But what if you’re a male or female leader who looked at Kohlrieser’s findings and realized they describe you exactly? Are you a woman who has trouble with conflict, or a man who has trouble bonding? Even if you’re long past your childhood, your leadership styles aren’t set in stone.

The best thing you can do is pay close attention to yourself. Notice your emotions when you face conflict or have to make a connection. Then, notice how you behave – and wonder where you learned that behavior. Most of us don’t notice that we’re modeling a parent or teacher or guardian…but noticing is the first step to change. Once you are able to recognize your negative behavior, you’ll be able to change it and become a better leader.

Liked this? Check out 3 Questions You Must Ask to Be Great!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

 

Today, George Kohlrieser is the Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at the International Institute for Management Development. Sounds like a tame job, right? But Kohlrieser used to be a hostage negotiator – a position that helped him write his award-winning book, Hostage at the Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others and Raise Performance.

During his speech at the World Business Forum last weekend, Kohlrieser asked an interesting question:

Do men or women make better leaders?

If you said women, you are correct!

Of course, some women are terrible leaders – just as some men are great ones. But generally speaking, women tend to make better leaders because they are good at making connections. But female leaders have a weakness too. In order for a woman to become a great leader, she must learn how to handle conflict.

Men have the exact opposite issue. While men tend to be good at handling conflict, many men don’t learn the caring, bonding techniques that women do when they’re young. This lack of bonding makes them unapproachable and thus not great leaders.

According to Kohlrieser, both men and women can combat these issues via the lessons they learned from their fathers. A woman with a father who managed conflict well is much more likely to be a better leader, as is a man with a father who was good at bonding.

But what if you’re a male or female leader who looked at Kohlrieser’s findings and realized they describe you exactly? Are you a woman who has trouble with conflict, or a man who has trouble bonding? Even if you’re long past your childhood, your leadership styles aren’t set in stone.

The best thing you can do is pay close attention to yourself. Notice your emotions when you face conflict or have to make a connection. Then, notice how you behave – and wonder where you learned that behavior. Most of us don’t notice that we’re modeling a parent or teacher or guardian…but noticing is the first step to change. Once you are able to recognize your negative behavior, you’ll be able to change it and become a better leader.

Liked this? Check out 3 Questions You Must Ask to Be Great!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

 

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