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Management Styles: Men v. Women

men and women in management
November 2019

Men Think More Highly of Themselves

In job applications, job interviews, performance reviews and a wide range of other environments, individuals are explicitly asked or implicitly invited to assess their own performance. In a series of experiments, according to the study “The Gender Gap in Self-Promotion” by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), women rate their performance less favorably than equally performing men.

“This gender gap in self-promotion is notably persistent,” writes the report’s authors Christine L. Exley and Judd B. Kessler. “It stays just as strong when we eliminate gender differences in confidence about performance and when we eliminate strategic incentives to engage in self-promotion. Because of the prevalence of self-promotion opportunities, this self-promotion gap may contribute to the persistent gender gap in education and labor market outcomes.”

Although men and women performed as well as each other on the test, women on average reported their performance as being 15 points lower on the 100-point scale than the average man.

“When communicating to potential employers, women systematically provide less favorable assessments of their own past performance and potential future ability than equally performing men,” the researchers wrote. —New York Post

Women Are Less Likely to Delegate Than Men—And it Might Hurt Their Careers

Effectively delegating work to others is considered critical to managerial success. It frees up managers’ time and develops subordinates’ skills. A Columbia Business School study suggests that female leaders are less likely than male leaders to capitalize on these benefits.

“Researchers found that women are less likely to delegate than men, are more likely to feel guilty about doing so and tend to have less-courteous interactions with subordinates when they do pass on tasks,” writes The Wall Street Journal. The report suggests that women who don’t delegate have little time for big-picture work and miss opportunities to train and mentor their subordinates.