Qualities that Distinguish Women Leaders
Women leaders are more persuasive, assertive and willing to take more risks than male leaders. Mara Swan, Chief People Officer for Molson Coors, points out, “I believe this study shows that for a woman to become a leader today, she has to fight harder against the status quo, which requires her to be more focused and determined.” ________________________________________
Women leaders are more assertive and persuasive, have a stronger need to get things done and are more willing to take risks than male leaders, according to a new study conducted by Caliper, a Princeton-based management consulting firm, which has assessed the potential of more than two million applicants and employees for over 25,000 companies around the world, and Aurora, a London-based organization which advances women and comprises a 20,000 member businesswomen’s network. Women leaders also were found to be more empathic and flexible, as well as stronger in interpersonal skills than their male counterparts. “These qualities combine to create a leadership style that is inclusive, open, consensus building, collaborative and collegial,” according to Herb Greenberg, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Caliper. “We should emphasize that the male leaders in this study were also exceptional in these areas. But the women leaders set a new standard,” adds Dr. Greenberg. As a footnote, the women leaders in the United Kingdom and the United States share very similar, very strong profiles. While scores of executives and academicians have weighed in on what it takes to be an effective leader, a participant in the study, Connie Jackson, Chief Executive of St. Bartholomew’s & the Royal London Charitable Foundation, provides an excellent working definition: “Strong leadership starts with being able to pull together a group of people—who may not have anything in common—and getting them to buy into a vision of themselves as a collective group who can achieve uncommon results.” Methodology
While much research has been published comparing the leadership styles of women and men, this study specifically focused on the personality qualities and motivational factors which are at the core of the underlying gender differences. This study included a valid and reliable personality assessment, the Caliper Profile, as well as a demographic analysis and in-depth interviews with 59 women leaders from some of the top companies in the United Kingdom and the United States, including: Accenture, Bank of America, Deloitte & Touche, Deutsche Bank, The Economist Group, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Ernst & Young, IBM, International Paper, Johnson & Johnson, Kohler, Lloyds TSB, Molson Coors and Morgan Stanley. These women came from 19 different business sectors; the highest representation was Finance (26%), followed by 7% each in Computer, Education & Consulting, Health Products & Services and Real Estate. Age breakouts of the women leaders included: 30-39 years (24%), 40-49 years (49%) and 50+ years (27%). The majority (69%) of the women were married, 5% lived with a domestic partner and 26% were single. Forty-one percent had dependent children living with them in the home. For comparison purposes, the women leaders in this study were matched to a representative sample of male leaders drawn from Caliper’s database, representing similar job titles. Finding 1: Women leaders are more persuasive than their male counterparts. The women leaders scored significantly higher than male leaders in ego-drive (persuasive motivation), assertiveness, willingness to risk, empathy, urgency, flexibility and sociability. The strong people skills possessed by women leaders enable them to read situations accurately and take in information from all sides. This willingness to see all sides of a situation enhances their persuasive ability. They can zero in on someone’s objections or concerns, weigh them appropriately, address them effectively and incorporate them into...
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