The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between leaders’ expressed traits and their impact on their country’s COVID-19 outcomes. Some leaders are over relying on masculine traits and dismissing feminine traits. An alternative – androgynous leadership – supports leaders in drawing from the full portfolio of behaviors.
This paper has a theoretical approach using an extensive review of the literature.
Leaders can take a number of actions to fully embrace androgynous leadership. These actions include building a diverse “tempered” team, communicating with respect, recognizing the impact of framing and moving from autopilot to realizing their best androgynous self.
Research limitations include a critique of Bem’s framework as outdated and dichotomous; a categorization of feminine, masculine and neutral behaviors that is determined by the authors; and a focus on leadership style that does not take other dimensions, such as health-care systems, into account.
The authors propose that an “androgynous” leadership style has been used effectively by some political leaders around the globe in the COVID-19 crisis. The COVID-19 context has provided a laboratory for developing and building competence as androgynous leaders.
The mental capacity to look at a situation, pause and explicitly select effective behavior is necessary, but oftentimes, it is not put into practice. By not drawing from a larger portfolio of androgynous behaviors, the opportunity for leaders to their best work is missed.
There is an acknowledgement of the benefits of the combination of masculine and feminine leadership traits. There are also clear recommendations supporting leaders in developing their androgynous leadership skills.
Blake-Beard, S., Shapiro, M. and Ingols, C. (2020), "Feminine? Masculine? Androgynous leadership as a necessity in COVID-19", Gender in Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/GM-07-2020-0222Download as .RIS
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