This article appeared in the April 14, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 04/14 edition

When feminine qualities rule

Reuters and AP
Top row, from left: New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Bottom row, from left: Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Iceland's Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, and Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen.
David Clark Scott
Audience Engagement Editor

In the heat of the battle against COVID-19, we’re seeing leadership forged.

A compelling case can be made that women have had the most success, so far, in guiding their nations through this pandemic. Consider Germany, Taiwan, Iceland, Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, and Norway – seven nations with relatively low numbers of cases and deaths. We’ve published stories about German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s calm honesty, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s tech-savvy approach, and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s deft handling of the crisis. 

Consultant Avivah Wittenberg-Cox writes in Forbes that the success of these seven leaders lies in employing honesty, decisiveness, wise use of technology, and empathy. Norway’s prime minister, Erna Solberg, for example, held a televised press conference to address the fears of children. No adults allowed. Brilliant. 

The “empathy and care which all of these female leaders have communicated seems to come from an alternate universe,” a far cry from the self-serving autocratic moves by some male heads of state, writes Ms. Wittenberg-Cox.

Indeed, “Don’t command, empathize” is one of the seven leadership lessons that men can learn from women, according to a recent article in Harvard Business Review. 

Of course, some nations led by men – Singapore and South Korea – have managed this crisis well. But the HBR authors write that research – and now this pandemic – shows that instead of encouraging women to act like male leaders, men should be adopting some of the more effective leadership qualities commonly found in women. 

Hey guys, let’s watch and learn. 

Share this article


This article appeared in the April 14, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 04/14 edition
of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.