Leadership styles deployed by women project managers at Eskom Enterprise Division.
Leadership styles have been shown to have an impact on the success or failure of projects in organizations. Effective leadership is therefore required by organizations to ensure the successful delivery of projects. The study aimed at investigating the leadership styles utilized by women project managers in the Eskom Enterprise Division and possible barriers that prevent them from reaching top positions. The study utilized leadership theories as the theoretical framework and used the qualitative research approach. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 female project managers in Eskom Enterprise Division and thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Certain leadership styles and characteristics were identified as being critical for successful project managers. The characteristics that these women project managers exhibit described qualities of transformational, democratic and people oriented leadership styles. The women project managers seem to be successful and there were a number of factors that contributed to their success. The female project managers did not believe that gender should determine their leadership style, but they believed that working as a project manager required certain leadership skills and competencies to meet the project’s objectives and the leadership style was not influenced by gender. Some of the barriers identified were: gender stereotyping, lack of qualifications, fear of not succeeding, family responsibilities and lack of networking skills and time. Most of the women believe that breaking some of the barriers requires that they should work twice as hard as their male counterparts, and that they should prove wrong the stereotype that men are better project managers. Furthermore, the findings show that Eskom has few women occupying top management positions. Eskom is still a male dominated environment even though initiatives for gender transformation exist.