Women better suited to leadership

Emma Walmsley  succeeds Andrew Witty as GSK chief executive when he retires on 31 MarchPhoto: GSK
Emma Walmsley succeeds Andrew Witty as GSK chief executive when he retires on 31 March
Photo: GSK

Women are better leaders than their male colleagues, according to research.

Professor Øyvind L Martinsen, head of leadership and organisational behaviour at the BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo, together with colleague Professor Lars Glasø, surveyed the personality traits of more than 2,900 managers and found that female leaders scored higher than men in most of the five categories measured.

Female leaders may falter through their stronger tendency to worry – or lower emotional stability. However, this does not negate the fact that they are decidedly more suited to management positions than their male counterparts” – Lars Glasø

Women ranked higher in four categories: initiative and clear communication; openness and ability to innovate; sociability and supportiveness; and methodical management and goal setting.

Martinsen said: “Our results indicate that women naturally rank higher, in general, than men in their abilities to innovate and lead with clarity and impact.

“These findings pose a legitimate question about the construction of management hierarchy and the current dispensation of women in these roles.”

However, the research did indicate that women are less emotionally stable than men and are less able to withstand job-related pressure and stress.

Glasø commented: “The survey suggests that female leaders may falter through their stronger tendency to worry – or lower emotional stability.

“However, this does not negate the fact that they are decidedly more suited to management positions than their male counterparts. If decision-makers ignore this truth, they could effectively be employing less qualified leaders and impairing productivity.”

Next week sees the introduction of gender pay gap reporting, which for many employers will highlight the lack of senior women in their management structure.

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