It's about the leadership: The importance of women leaders doing leadership for women

Athena Vongalis-Macrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


What do a group of female leadership aspirants think about female leadership? This question and the subsequent discussion broach a sensitive topic about how women respond to female leadership and whether this differs from that of male leadership. This article investigates female leadership through the experiences of a group of female leadership aspirants as they consider what makes an effective leader. An interpretive perspective drawn from interview data frames the analysis, particularly identifying agentic and communal leadership practices as representative of leadership behaviours and practices that female participants have acknowledged as effective. This article illustrates that particular leadership actions are preferred by women and that these can be evident in both male and female leaders. What emerges from the research is that the quality of leadership, specifically agentic practices that create efficacy and support, in addition to communal leadership that demonstrates emotional balance, are of greater importance to women than the gender of the leader.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-103
Number of pages14
JournalNASPA Journal About Women in Higher Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


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