Recruitment News

Men, Women and Leadership

What separates the genders?..



This article is going to look in depth at the reasons, as to why men advance further in management careers than women. I will try to keep this read as unbiased as possible, although there will be some questionable statements and opinions, which are in no way, intended to be taken offensively.

Anyways, without further ado…


A recent study published on the Recruiter website, has shown that women on average, rank higher than men in nearly all leadership qualities. Although men rise higher in management roles due to the experience they earn from undertaking risky challenges.


Women, do not usually take those risks, often due to “unwritten social rules”. In general, they tend to play it safe which sometimes hinders their future success. Men on the other hand live by the phrase “fortune favours the brave”.


In the long run, when it comes down to the “Big Cheese” of company deciding on who to promote, they will choose the candidate with the most impressive record. For the majority of the time, it will be someone who took on a daring project at some point in their career, such as rescuing a low performing department.


Why are the genders so different?

Genetics. Those little strands of deoxyribonucleic acid that make us who we are. The source of our lives, also dictates whether or not we think it’s a good idea to go double or nothing at the casino.

In a 2012 study by the British Psychology Society, men were found to be almost twice as likely to take risks at work compared to women. This is because calculated temperament of women and the impulsive nature of men, aided in our survival.

Somewhere along the line of evolution, natural selection decided that instinctual, adventurous and somewhat carefree men, would survive for longer. The opposite happened for women, where the ones that thought into the future and took less risks, lived to tell their tales (and pass on those fore-thinking genes).

Women and men are simply coded differently.


Another factor is social norms. Human sociology is more prevalent today, than it has ever been in history. It heavily imposes on what can and cannot do, depending on culture, age, race and gender.

Males and females are, from birth, raised differently. Society has an expectation of how each gender should and should not act.

In our culture, risk taking is encouraged for men. One reason, is so that they can prove themselves. Taking on a task that is deemed dangerous by their peers, will gain them “respect”. There is also a stigma of being labelled a coward if one refuses to accept a risky challenge.

In general for women, this stigma isn’t as strong and the expectations are (usually) not as high. So there is less incentive to take risks. This allows them to make more rational decisions with less peer pressure.



What makes a good leader?

Risk taking is not necessarily a good quality of a leader, although succeeding definitely is. So if you have enough people taking on dangerous projects, a handful will inevitably succeed and go on to be promoted.

However, this does not automatically mean that “gamblers” are better leaders, it just means they have a more flashy record. In the end that’s all that really counts.

You may be a brilliant leader, but those skills will only take you so far. At the pinnacle of your career, you may need something up your sleeve to advance any further.


Something impressive… something risky…

Posted on 26th Sep 14

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