Master of Business Administration (MBA) graduate Miss Jessica Conradie who researched attributes that made women managers successful, discovered their transformational management approach and behavioural control were key to their success.
The Sports Promotion Officer in the Department of Sports and Recreation in KwaZulu-Natal, who is also a MANCOSA bursary recipient, was conferred with her MBA at MANCOSA’s May graduation ceremony after undertaking research titled: Management Attributes that Contribute to the Success of Women in Management Positions in Northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Displaying traits such as caring, empathy, empowerment, collaboration, acting like a mother, recognition, good listening skills and acknowledging good work led to the success of women managers. This leadership style opposed the transactional style used by their male counterparts which focused on achieving goals; fostering compliance, being directive and demanding obedience.
“The study showed that female leaders see themselves as successful, because they are efficient. They measure themselves, however, by the male archetype, strengthening their conflicting ideas of their own definition leadership and what they believe leadership ‘should be’. There are females that saw themselves as less effective and it was identified that the cause of this was lack of self-confidence,” said Miss Conradie.
While the transformational managerial style has proven effective for women managers, they do encounter barriers to career advancement. Discrimination; the traditional culture of how women should operate and gender stereotypes were seen as barriers. Feelings of disempowerment because women are not considered risk-takers and lacked confidence was pointed out as another barrier. The lack of knowledge in certain areas also posed a barrier to career advancement.
A barrier that worked against women managers was the self-perception that they were too emotional leading to limited self-confidence said Miss Conradie, adding that this made women feel less effective in the business place.
Miss Conradie suggests that behavioural control is important to overcome the challenges they face.
“If females want to improve their stance in the business world, they will have to become bold and work on their self-esteem. Being bold means that they will have to be more vigilant and take more risks, because even though there are multiple barriers facing women to career progression, initiatives by the public and private sectors are being availed in order for females to progress,” she said.
Thanking MANCOSA for the bursary it offered her to pursue her MBA degree; Miss Conradie said she was relieved that her hard work and long hours of studying had proved fruitful. “It was challenging and hard, but never for one moment did I think of giving up. The bursary MANCOSA gave me was a big driver to continue and persevere. Giving my best work to MANCOSA was my gift back to the institution and for the career seeking females of Southern Africa, she added.