NAYA| New study shows women are highly competent leaders

Zenger and Folkman’s observations confirm that women make highly competent leaders and the reason why they’re not advancing to top corporate roles has more to do with lack of opportunities rather than lack of competence or ambition.
by Vanessa Ghanem

24 September 2019 | 12:56

Source: by Annahar

  • by Vanessa Ghanem
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 24 September 2019 | 12:56

(AP Photo).

BEIRUT: Women are rated better than men on key leadership capabilities, according to a recent research study published by the Harvard Business Review (HBR).

Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman’s research results suggested that women scored at a statistically significant level, which is higher than men on the vast majority of the leadership competencies they measured.

Using their database of 360-degree reviews, in which they asked individuals (managers and women) to rate each leaders’ effectiveness overall and to judge how strong they were on specific competencies, Zenger and Folkman concluded that, while the differences were “not huge,” women were perceived just as – if not more – competent as men.

Nonetheless, the researchers highlighted that only 4.9 percent of Fortune's 500 CEOs and 2 percent of S&P's 500 CEOs are women, adding: “Those numbers are declining globally.”

According to the researchers, the motives behind this decline are the historical and cultural biases (both conscious and unconscious) against women.

“Women are perceived by their managers to be slightly more effective than men at every hierarchical level and in virtually every functional area of the organization,” the study stated, stressing on the unconscious biases that push managers away from positioning women in leadership roles although they are aware of their effectiveness. That includes sectors, which are stereotypical occupied by men, such as IT, operations, and the legal field.

As per the data, women were rated higher when it came to taking initiative (55.6 percent for women versus 49.3 percent for men), acting with resilience (54.7 percent for women versus 49.3 percent for men), practicing self-development (54.8 percent for women versus 49.6 percent men), driving for results (53.96 percent for women versus 48.8% men), displaying high integrity and honesty (54.0 percent for women versus 49.1 percent for men), being bold leaders (53.2 percent for women vs 49.8 percent for men), developing others (54.1 percent for women versus 49.8 percent men), inspiring and motivating others (53.9 percent for women versus 49.7 percent for men), and building relationships (53.2 percent for women versus 49.9 percent for men).

Out of the 19 tested capabilities, men outscored women on two: developing strategic perspective (51.1 percent for men versus 50.1 percent for women) and technical or professional expertise (51.4 percent for men versus 50.1 percent for women).

Zenger and Folkman’s observations confirm that women make highly competent leaders and the reason why they’re not advancing to top corporate roles has more to do with lack of opportunities rather than lack of competence or ambition.

“When given those opportunities, women are just as likely to succeed in higher level positions as men,” the study highlighted. “It’s imperative that organizations change the way they make hiring and promotion decisions and ensure that eligible women are given serious consideration.”

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Welcome to "NAYA," the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. NAYA is devoted to women of all generations-NAYA Editor, Sally Farhat: Sally.farhat@annahar.com.lb

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