Men and women think leaders should have “masculine” traits

The research, from Andrea Vial of New York University and Jaime Napier of New York University Abu Dhabi, found that men and women think successful leaders should have positive “agentic” traits, such as competence and assertiveness, which are stereotypically masculine.

Positive communal traits, such as kindness and trustworthiness, which are stereotypically feminine, were seen as less important.

“When looking at the trade-off that people make between communal and agency leadership traits, we found both men and women continue to see agentic traits as the hallmark of leadership,” says Vial. “These are traits that are often associated more with men than with women.”

Kindness and other considerate behaviours, in contrast, are viewed by many as good, but ultimately disposable.