Study: Gender, Motivation, and Coping in the Evaluation of Leadership Effectiveness (Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research 1996)
Finding: When women couple non-defensive coping capabilities with high levels of self esteem and confidence, they are seen as more effective leaders.
Note about The Woman Effect Research Index: This study was performed by researchers not affiliated with InPower Women. Our Research Index includes all relevant research to the subject of women, business and power. We do not influence how the research was conducted or reported by the researchers. In our abstracts, we focus on pulling out the most actionable advice for individual women. To suggest additional research we should index, or discuss our choice of abstract focus, please contact us
InPower Insight: To overcome stereotypical expectations in leadership styles, develop your ability to handle outside stresses non-defensively and high self-esteem.
This study by Consulting Psychology Journal researcher Leslie Pratch explored the relationship between gender and leadership styles – and the findings provides solid guidance to women on how to develop their leadership effectiveness. The researchers examined leadership effectiveness through the lenses of intelligence, coping, and motivation. One of the most notable findings how women and men scored on active coping skills. For both genders, active coping skills were a strong predictor of leadership effectiveness. In-other-words, people who can respond properly to stres, adapt and grow, make the best leaders. However, when women learn this important skill – and learn to do it non-defensively – it can benefit them even more than men.
While gender stereotypes played into the results, both men and women were found to be effective leaders, and overall women were judged to be slightly more effective, even when controlled for education and social class in the participants. However, while men’s overall score on the three variables was a predictor of their effectiveness, women who showed the ability to “identify and face difficulties in the external world openly and non-defensively predicted leadership beyond any chance occurrence. The correlation between self-confidence and leadership effectiveness was also overwhelmingly statistically significant.” Pratch concluded that women can enhance their leadership effectiveness most by investing in developing high levels of self-confidence and self esteem as well as dealing non-defensively with outside factors.
Career Coaching Tip: Maybe it’s unfair that women and men are judged differently when it comes to leadership effectiveness, but this research gives you something specific you can work on to beef up your leadership style. Basically, when you get flustered it works against you in a leadership setting, so learn how not to get flustered and deal. This research shows that beefing up your self-esteem and self-confidence will also help, but the clue is to learn to speak with confidence, non-defensively. This is something you need to focus on developing consciously into your authentic leadership style so that you do it naturally and easily. It’s a challenge, but it can be done!
Keywords: Leaders, Masculine Traits, Stereotype, Coping Skills, Stress
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