15 Minute Read

Feminine? Masculine? Androgynous Leadership as a Necessity in COVID-19

leaders at an event

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. 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.

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.

In these times of extreme stress and uncertainty, the actions that leaders take are critical … we believe that the COVID-19 context provides a laboratory for developing and building competence as androgynous leaders: what we learn and practice during COVID-19 will serve individuals and communities beyond this crisis.