Female vs male leadership styles with Cheryl Alderman

Oct 18
Author:Ash Natesh
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Effective communication is key to becoming a successful leader in the APS. The key difference between a female and male leader is their communication style. Women leaders can be very apologetic and men are quite direct and firm according to Cheryl Alderman Executive & Business Coach, Be Ultimate.

“Women leaders will often have a questioning tone in their statements, they are not as assertive. Women leaders are much less likely to step into their own power as a leader so acknowledging their own leadership abilities”, says Cheryl.

Men, in her experience, are not afraid to show off their strengths, whereas female leaders are more prone to the mindset of ‘just doing my job’ when their strengths are highlighted. Often women are not comfortable stepping into their own personal power.

There is an emotional level to women leaders, empathy is very powerful in leadership quality. However, there is also a dark side to empathy, it can often inhibit their feeling of freedom to convey messages that might be construed as more negative and they won’t necessarily say what they need to say because they are playing on making sure that it does not sound so harsh.

When speaking up, females often go back and question whether they said the right thing rather than owning what they have put forth. Men, on the other hand, are much better at ‘chucking it on the table’ whether it’s right or wrong and standing with that decision. It is difficult to be confident in your leadership when the people around you are making you feel like you are either a token gesture or ‘not to be taken seriously’.

“Even at the top level, there is still that feeling of self-doubt and saying, you know, ‘are you sure?’… Men are much better at ignoring that little voice than female leaders.”

Cheryl has found from her clients that strength and confidence in women come from within:

“Sometimes the strength that women leaders need is to know when the environment they are in is not conducive to growth and development. Sometimes you’ll build that awareness when you find that it is time to move on – and it’s a lot easier for people to get trapped in the cycle of not quite being enough then it is to step inside and notice that moment where you’re like, I’m more than enough and in that environment I’m thriving”.

Cheryl Alderman will be hosting a workshop on How to communicate effectively as a leader in the Australian Public Sector. It will deep dive into communication challenges that prevent you from being heard, respected, valued and promoted. It will provide you with the toolkit to develop high-level communication skills such as the power of language, active listening, feedback, non-verbals and social awareness. By tackling issues such as the impact of gender, cultural, generational and representational differences, you will walk away with the confidence to take your communication skills to a whole new level.

The workshop is currently sold out – if you are interested in joining the waiting list please contact the Customer Care Team at customercare@criterionconferences.com

The 7th Public Sector Women in Leadership conference will provide inspiration and guidance to aspiring and future leaders to excel in their careers. You will hear presentations and interactive discussions from female and male leaders who are pioneering change on a national and global stage.


Submitted by Ash Natesh

Ash Natesh

Ash is the Content Marketer at Criterion Conferences. Writing and sourcing content is all part of her day to day routine. She can’t stop drinking coffee, other than coffee her interests lie in Music, long walks amidst the mountains, Dance, Anime, Science Fiction and all things nerdy!

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