Stereotypes in Leadership Behavior
Leadership entails the ability of individuals to provide guidance and motivation to others as a way of promoting tasks completion. Numerous characteristics are associated with good leadership, and they include farsightedness, effective communication skills, positive attitude, creativity, and honesty. While this characteristics and values are usually examined in the selection of leaders, some stereotypes exist about what makes a good leader exist. These stereotypes include aspects related to perceived gender roles and age.
Some individuals still base their decision of a good leader on the age of an individual. They assume that older people make better leaders as compared to younger people. While this supposition is based on the belief that old people have wisdom and are likely to make better decisions as compared to younger people, in some cases, young people have been seen to make sound decisions that support the well-being of a company as opposed to the older ones (Karagianni & Montgomery, 2018). Young people are more creative and likely to take the risk as compared to older leaders.
Regarding gender, many people believe that men are better leaders as compared to women. This assumption is based on traditional gender roles that characterized women as caretakers and confined them to house chores. On the other hand, men were traditionally given the role of providing for their families by taking up corporate types of work. Aside from that, educating women was traditionally not seen as being important. Instead, women were trained of performing roles such as knitting, caring for children, cleaning, and other house chores while men were given the opportunity to acquire formal education (Vinkeburg, Engen, Eagly, & Johannesen-Schmidt, 2011; Lindsey, 2015). Some people view women as caregivers and not as professionals based on these traditions.
The stereotypes related to gender roles and age have affected people perception of leadership roles. There is a need to embrace transformational leadership that allows the selection of leaders based on their skills. Young people and women can perform the same roles as their counterparts in leadership.
Karagianni, D., & Montgomery, A. J. (2018). Developing Leadership Skills among Adolescents and Young Adults: A Review of Leadership Programmes. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 23(1), 86-98. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02673843.2017.1292928.
Lindsey, L. L. (2015). Gender Roles: A Sociological Perspective. Routledge.
Vinkeburg, C. J., Engen, M. L., Eagly, A. H., & Johannesen-Schmidt, M. C. (2011). An Exploration of Stereotypical Beliefs about Leadership Styles: Is Transformational Leadership a Route to Women’s Promotion. The Leadership Quarterly, 22(1), 10-21 retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1048984310001839.