What You didn’t Know about Female Leadership


There are more Fortune 500 CEOs named John than there are female CEOs. It’s 2019 and women are still considerably under represented in positions of leadership across various industries.

Hidden truths

When we're looking for answers, we turn to science. We're especially compelled by images of brains. Gina Rippon, eminent professor of cognitive neuroscience helps to bust myths that the brains of men and women are fundamentally different. In fact, we share more similarities than we do differences when it comes to our brains. So why do the myths persist? And why do we consistently see more men than women at senior level positions?

Up against it

There are many ways in which the experiences of men and women may differ. And the work place offers a multitude of differences in itself. Feedback is just one of the ways in which leaders and prospective leaders can calibrate their performance and make those critical strides into positions of status. Research by McKinsey & Company shows that women are statistically less likely to report having received constructive criticism than men, even when they've asked explicitly for it. What's more, even when they're able to solicit feedback the quality is more likely to be poorer. Feedback given to women tends to focus on personality traits and weaknesses, whereas feedback given to their male counterparts will focus on strengths.

Women and men also show marked difference in their approach to risk and opportunity. It's well cited that women wait until they meet 100% of criteria for a new opportunity as compared to men who settle for 60% before going for it. From a young age, women are told to accept nothing less than perfection and that's an attitude seems to be playing out in adult careers too.

Measuring Potential

The different experiences of men and women in the workplace help to shape their leadership potential, but there's more to it than just that. At PeopleWise we're able to level the playing field of potential by using data to better predict what makes a successful leader, regardless of their gender or background. By better understanding the psychological resources available to them, future female leaders can invest their time and energy developing where it counts. Our primary research tells us that confidence is equal in men and women at their start of their careers. Over time that changes, as women's confidence levels drop in comparison to men. And yet the paradox of gender makes it tricky for even the most confident of women to challenge the often-implicit expectation that they should remain humble and demure. So, what happens when confidence is a precursor to leadership success?

Join us as we continue to level the leadership playfield by addressing the nuances in leadership and gender, ensuring that the best talent is always in the right place at the right time.

Join us as we continue to reimagine leadership.

What to do next

To find out more about how peoplewise can help to shape your workspace please call us on +44 (0)203 9673786 or email at contactus@peoplewise.co.uk.