This is yet another great but sad article from Lisa Belkin, in which she sites findings from various studies of leadership qualities and how women are perceived in them. While the studies focus in on different aspect of leadership, the answer is fairly--and sadly--consistent: Whatever the particular leadership quality, women are perceived to be more lacking in it than men.
Here are examples of finding from some studies she sites, read the article for more:
- ...while men gain stature and clout by expressing anger, women who express it are seen as being out of control, and lose stature;
- [one study] found that women who act in ways that are consistent with gender stereotypes — defined as focusing “on work relationships” and expressing “concern for other people’s perspectives” — are considered less competent. But if they act in ways that are seen as more “male” — like “act assertively, focus on work task, display ambition” — they are seen as “too tough” and “unfeminine.”
The article's author poses a great question: What are we, as women, supposed to do with these findings? Should we even pay attention and alter our behavior at work or do the ways women are perceived in the workplace have to change before more women can hold leadership positions?
Share your thoughts in the comments!