Effective Executive Journal
Personal and Interpersonal Assertiveness of Female Leaders in Skilled Technical Roles

Article Details
Pub. Date : Dec, 2019
Product Name : Effective Executive
Product Type : Coaching and Mentoring
Product Code : EECM31912
Author Name :Kurt April and Namuziya Sikatali
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Management
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 27



The skilled technical industries in the emerging economy of South Africa are mostly male-dominated and, in some cases, there are no females present at all. However, for the few female leaders who are in this industry, there are different means with which they assert themselves based on the levels of preparedness and how much support they receive on both personal and professional basis. Research has shown that women receive a lot of backlash and negative feedback when they are faced with situations in which they need to assert themselves, and are often referred to as aggressive. In similar circumstances, the same assertion is seen more favorably for their male counterparts, and this personal capability is ascribed to good- and goal-directed leadership, resulting in their receiving far less backlash and even praise and admiration. Our research took a qualitative approach and deployed a deep-insights phenomenological strategy to explore the lived experiences of 20 participants from technically-skilled South African workspaces. We sought to understand the ways in which skilled female leaders assert themselves from both a personal and an onlookers’ perspective, as well as gain insight on the coping mechanisms that were employed by these female leaders in the face of workplace backlash. The results highlighted some of the challenges that exist for female leaders, and we also present a number of recommendations for emerging and aspiring leaders.


This section clarifies several areas of assertion, aggression, coping, mentorship and the underlying factors that either foster or demotivate female leaders from asserting themselves effectively.