In cultivating their leadership style, women have to be conscious of which traits they cultivate and which ones they suppress. Compared to their male counterparts, there are sharp differences in what they are expected to show and what they can “get away with”.
A common fallacy among some female executives is that they need to act like men to get ahead in organizations. But from our systematic work with executives on Switzerland’s Institute for Management Development (IMD) all-female Strategic Leadership program, the answer is not so straightforward. The challenge is actually two-fold: women must live up to collective expectations of what makes a leader, while at the same time remaining true to certain gender expectations.