This editorial introduction to an issue of a journal of health services management presents a discussion of women's leadership in healthcare and female styles of leadership. Research is cited which found that in leaderless groups, men will likely emerge as leaders of task-oriented work, while women frequently become leaders of social interaction-based groups. Social leadership involves motivating, inspiring and reducing conflict among staff.
In healthcare, female leaders have demonstrated an emphasis on patient care, communication, transparency, collaboration and skill building. Women have been found to be better listeners, more likely to seek the input of others, and more likely to ensure the recognition of others. The authors advise aspiring women leaders to build confidence and self-knowledge and to act upon their beliefs. Mentors and sponsors are argued to be the key to building a career pathway.