In our society now more than ever, we are seeing people of minorities, such as race or gender taking a stand. In our theories and models class, we spent a few sessions on how gender relates to leadership. More specifically, how men typically come to mind when people are asked to think of a leader. Theoretically speaking, we discussed the “Role Incongruity Theory of Prejudice”, which argues that gender roles are “consensual beliefs” based on stereotypical characteristics of women and men. Under this theory, there are two types of norms – descriptive and injunctive norms. Descriptive norms are what people actually do, whereas injunctive norms are ideal expectations of people. Gender relates to this theory because there is a strong prejudice against women in leadership positions because it is “not typical” or not congruent with their stereotypical gender qualities, such as kind, caring, or gentle. As a result, when employees vote on a leader or the boss is looking for someone to promote, it is more often a male employee. Males and leaders are both typically associated with agentic qualities, such as assertiveness or power, characteristics that women are often frowned upon for possessing.
Despite this theory and many other studies conducted, leadership in my company is a bit different. In my branch of InSight Telepsychiatry, called Inpathy, our entire team is constructed of women. From our leader all the way to the interns, we are entirely made up of females. This may seem unusual to most outsiders looking into our organization, however for that past three years, our branch has done nothing other than flourish. Some may argue that although our industry does exemplify the stereotypical communal qualities of women, such as genuine caring for the well-being of all of our consumers, the women that are in the highest power positions have to exert agency in order for our team to succeed. Outside of our team, InSight Telepsychiatry does support gender theories. Our CEO and COO have been men since the establishment of our company. However, over the years we have had other female administrators in high positions which is nice to see that employees are being promoted where it is deserved, not just based on gender. Although our Inpathy team may be an anomaly, I love that we are a successful exception to the norm of gender theories of leadership.