Women Leadership Led to the End of the Shutdown

It has been over a week since the government shutdown ended. There has been much debate on the reasons for the shutdown which we don’t discuss here. But an interesting fact came to light after all was said and done. It appears that is was a strong leadership from the females involved that brought the shutdown to an end.

Senator McCain was quoted as saying “Leadership, I must fully admit, was provided primarily from women in the Senate,” McCain said after the bipartisan deal was announced.

In a Huffington Post article last week entitled Men Got Us Into the Shutdown and Women Got Us Out comes this insight:

Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) said on Wednesday afternoon that their female colleagues can take most of the credit for driving the compromise that is expected to temporarily reopen the U.S. government and raise the debt ceiling before Thursday’s deadline.

It isn’t really a moment to be proud because the entire situation really speaks to our government’s inability to “play well with others,” but is was the female approach that brought both side of the aisle together.

Much has been written about the differing style of leadership based on gender and here is a perfect example of how compromise, listening skills, mutual respect and a desire to come to resolution (qualities associates with women) benefited the situation.

When talking about this with a small group of business women last week, one woman said – it is how we “roll.” When there is conflict in our own family – we don’t shut down the kitchen or the laundry room. Life goes on and so we must find ways to make it happen.

I found an article entitled Does Gender Matter in Business that was written a couple of years ago that lists the different traits (speaking generally) of leadership by gender:

Commonly accepted qualities of Male Leadership

  • Competitive
  • Aggressive
  • Confident
  • Dominant/One-up-one-down relationship
  • Controlling
  • Objective
  • Action-oriented
  • Hierarchical
  • Directive

Commonly accepted qualities of Female Leadership

  • Nurturing
  • Emotionally intelligent
  • Empathetic
  • Flexible
  • Assertive
  • Confident
  • Team oriented
  • Communicative
  • Collaborative

It is an interesting list. Both are confident but where one is aggressive the other is assertive; one is controlling and the other is flexible.

What are your thoughts about the differences in leadership styles by gender. Do you believe this most recent example is a good argument for more women in government and business leadership roles?