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Managers say that women make better leaders than men

Is it finally time to not only challenge workplace norms but also reinvent them?

Thanks to a recent study by Professor Øyvind L Martinsen from the BI Norwegian Business School, there is some substance to the claim that women make better leaders than men.

Martinsen, who heads up the Leadership & Organisational Behaviour department, analysed data on 3,000 men and women in managerial roles as part of the study and concluded that women, in general, are better suited to positions of leadership than men.

It has long been a point of discussion that the number of women heading up FTSE 100 companies is far outweighed by the number of men, and that the number of women declines at every stage of the career ladder. The glass ceiling is real.

Martinsen’s study concludes that women perform better than their male counterparts in nearly all areas of leadership. It looked at key management skills – such as initiative and clear communication, sociability and supportiveness, openness and the ability to innovate, and methodical management and goal-setting – and found women coming out with higher scores than men.

The area in which women were outperformed by the men was dealing with work-related stress, as the report suggests that, in general, men have higher levels of emotional stability.

Most businesses rely on profit, maximum productivity and efficiency; therefore, these results should be of interest to many businesses and boards looking recruit. They pose a very real set of questions about management hierarchy and reinforce what many women have been campaigning for for many years – more women in boardroom positions.

Is it finally time to not only challenge workplace norms but also reinvent them? No business should risk a lack of clarity when it comes to communicating the business vision and direction.

Professor Lars Glasø, who co-authored the report, noted that women might be falling down due to their tendency to worry more, although he also noted that this should not be a reason to deny them the senior roles. Women are more suited to positions of leadership overall and he cautioned decision-makers against ignoring these findings.

Women are great multi-taskers and are good at collaborating. They seek out partnerships and the chance to work with others to find the best solution for everyone; therefore, they are inclusive and give everyone a chance to voice their opinion as leaders. They are compassionate and supportive, which should not be mistaken for a weakness.

The world of business needs to appoint more female leaders at all levels. To the hiring managers and decision-makers, take note; to the women in the workplace aspiring to lead, put yourself out there and keep your head up. Use your natural talents and grab that next step.

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