Are women better leaders than men?
That was the question posed at Friday's Utah Valley Women's Business Conference and according to research presented at that same conference, the answer is yes. Keynote speaker Bob Sherwin, CEO of Zenger Folkman, presented research his company published in the March edition of the Harvard Business Review. The data comes from thousands of surveys that rate leaders in 16 different traits thought to be important to leadership, including taking initiative, driving results, developing strategic perspectives, developing others and establishing goals. The research shows that when evaluated by their superiors, peers, subordinates and themselves, women in leadership positions score better than men in 12 of the 16 categories. "Some of the outcomes we expected like men holding more leadership positions, men holding higher positions and women being better nurturers," Sherwin said. "But some things were unexpected like women's advantages not being confined to nurturing." Sherwin said that at every level of leadership ranging from supervisor to CEO women were perceived as being more effective leaders and the higher the position the bigger the gap was between how effective women were versus men. "In their study they found that women had higher marks on taking initiative and driving for results and that is a new thing," said Susan Madsen, professor of leadership and ethics at Utah Valley University's Woodbury business school. "Men have been known for getting results and women for just caring about people but women are stepping up." Despite research that shows women can be -- and are -- effective leaders, the number of women in leadership positions is still very low compared to men. According to data presented by Sherwin, 53 percent of new hires are women and 47 percent are men but as you climb the ladder positions held by women get fewer and fewer. Sherwin says at the supervisor level 37 percent are women and 63 percent are men, at the vice...
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