Jane Hall's Comments & Contributions

Changing The Face Of Leadership From With; Gender Differences In Leadership Style

Presentation at: the International Consortium for Public Safety Leadership (www.publicsafetyleadership.net)  – July 15th, 2008 Tallahassee, Florida, USA

There appears to be as many definitions of leadership as there are authors. One of the simpler faces of leadership within an organization is positional leadership, where a person’s ability to influence his or her organization is linked to the rank or position held within an organization.  This is a narrow definition, but easily quantifiable and fairly indisputable. It is also a good indicator of the traits the organization has chosen to recognize and reward as leadership.

A recent update on trends within the policing community in Canada has identified a looming leadership crisis; 40-50% of existing executive level leaders (positional leaders) are due for retirement.  This “crisis” may be an unprecedented opportunity to rethink who should occupy those leadership positions. A second trend indicates female police officers are proportionally underrepresented in positional leadership positions, particularly in some very large police organizations has also emerged[1].  These trends raise a couple of timely questions;

Have large policing agencies in Canada been operating on traditional male assumptions of motivation, values and ethics resulting in an under-representation of females as positional leaders?”  And if so, “What can be done to correct the imbalance?

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