HBR — Women are Better Leaders? (!)

Posted by on Mar 19, 2012

Harvard Business Review hedged its bet last week. The conclusions that rose out of research by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, showed that in “leadership attributes” women did a better job than men. Yet when the article was posted, someone (HBR or Jack&Joe) put a question mark at the end of the title — “Women are Better Leaders”? throwing it out there for debate vs. a conclusion based on research. (The original report title assigned was Women Do it Better than Men)

Why the question mark? Why not an explanation point?!? Afterall this is groundbreaking news that shakes our preconditioned ideals, isn’t it?  What if I titled this post, Women are Better Leaders According to Research?

What’s wrong with letting women have their moment especially when research backs it up? Apparently unless you have points on a scoreboard, our moments don’t count. New York Giants Win the SuperBowl?  And men wonder why women feel dismissed, or that we have to work five times as hard to have our accomplishments noted and standing on their own.

Snarkiness aside… Check out the scorecard below. In 15 out of 16 categories, women are ahead in every category but one, and I would question that one because this report is based in business and not in social influence. Look at the amount of effort that women put into their blogs to change the way toxins are seeping into our homes and offices on Lori Alper’s post.  You’ll find all 16 attributes represented in these green mom blogs — their postings are highly strategic and effective — big business is reading over their shoulders and adjusting their ways.

Or check out MomsRising.org with 1 million policy influencing members. Women’s organizations and bloggers with their very developed strategic perspectives are changing everything from what food we eat to what products we have in our homes to what we do in society, to how we map it out.

It’s great that Jack and Joe did the research and found that women are excelling at leadership in business. (Thank you!) At the same time, we also lead from our laptops and that should not be questioned or left out of reports. Social media has dissolved the walls and inspiration comes from all levels. We’re in this together and therefore all leaders and followers of influence need to be acknowledged.

Go here to download the full report. 

Which gender supplies better leaders for organizations? Based on research conducted by Zenger Folkman, the authority in strengths-based leadership development, the answer is rather clear and quite shocking. As far as the 16 researched differentiating leadership competencies are concerned women excelled in a majority of areas.

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