Female leadership is a crucial agenda item for major corporations. Over the past years, the perception of female leaders has improved, along with the increased participation of women in the workforce. However, for many people, the mental model for leader still fits the phrase “think manager—think male”. Likewise, a large-scale survey of the German socio-economic panel shows that women are still falling behind when it comes to high-level promotions.
The negative attitude towards female leadership not only affects how women are perceived in their leadership role, but also negatively influences the performance of their subordinates. In our research, we set out to understand the processes that keep this negative image in place, and investigated whether a respectful leadership strategy could counter the effects.