NEWS AND INSIGHTS UPDATE;
Research from the Zenger/Folkman, a leadership development consultancy, reveals that women are rated as better overall leaders by their peers, bosses, direct reports, and other associates than their male counterparts. In fact, the research found that the higher the level in the organization, the higher the gap in ratings grows.
At all levels, women are rated higher in 12 of the 16 competencies that define outstanding leaders. Women even ranked higher in traits traditionally viewed as male strengths.
Women outscored men in the following leadership traits:
- Takes initiative
- Practices self-development
- Drives for results
- Develops others
- Inspires and motivates others
- Builds relationships
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Establishes stretch goals
- Champions change
- Solves problems and analyzes issues
- Communicates powerfully and prolifically
- Connects the group to the outside world
- Technical or professional expertise
Men outscored women significantly for just one trait — developing a strategic perspective. Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, CEO and president of Zenger/Folkman, respectively, explained why this is with the Harvard Business Review saying, “Top leaders always score significantly higher in this competency; since more top leaders are men, men still score higher here in the aggregate. But when we measure only men and women in top management on strategic perspective, their relative scores are the same.”
Despite the results of leadership studies like this one, 64% of leaders are still men and the higher the level, the more men there are. Specifically, 78% of top managers are men, and 67% of senior executives reporting to top managers are men. At the next management level down, 60% are men.
Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman shared their thoughts with the Harvard Business Review about how companies can make the necessary changes to enable more women to take on leadership positions:
“As leaders in organizations look hard to find the talent they need to achieve exceptional results, they ought to be aware that many women have impressive leadership skills. Our research shows these leadership skills are strongly correlated to organizational success factors such as retaining talent, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and profitability.
“As to the constant state of unease we hear women leaders express — clearly, chauvinism or discrimination is an enigma that organizations (and the business culture) should work hard to prevent. However, that said, think of the benefits every leader in every organization would gain from a mind-set that they simply can’t afford to make a mistake. Paranoia or extreme risk aversion is clearly detrimental to a rising career. But in today’s economic climate, every leader, male or female, would do well to avoid becoming complacent.”
What do you think?
Get the details: Are Women Better Leaders than Men? via blogs.hbr.org