As International Women’s Day is coming up in four days’ time I thought it would be helpful to make reference to an interesting blog that was just posted by the British Psychological Society (BPS): Male and female bosses share the same “classically masculine” personality traits.
The blog describes a study lead by Bart Wille at the University of Antwerp. The researchers accessed comprehensive personality tests taken by nearly 600 top-level executives (including 143 female bosses) and over 52,000 non-executives (including 17,643 women) from diverse industries in Belgium and other European countries. (This is a big study).
Women in non-leadership roles scored higher than men on characteristics associated with being more agreeable, such as being cooperative and people-oriented, while scoring lower on emotional stability and aspects of extraversion. In contrast, the personalities of male and female bosses were far more similar, with many sex-linked differences absent altogether or greatly attenuated (although the women still scored higher on aspects of agreeableness).
Whereas the personality of female managers contrasted sharply with the traits of non-managerial women, male bosses were not so different in their traits from non-managerial men. “Women tend to be lower on traits that lead individuals to pursue and be selected for leadership roles,” the researchers said. Because there are more men with the traits associated with striving for and obtaining leadership than there are women, it could be argued this helps explain the paucity of women in management roles.
I blogged about Gender Inequality three years ago. The key 7MTF/Humm temperament component found in managers and leaders is the Politician. Driven by the desire to win, these people are assertive, seek leadership positions, and love taking decisions. The mental illness associated with the Politician component is paranoia. Men are twice as likely to suffer from paranoia as women which is why I argue that managers are twice as likely to be male than female. That is not to say that there are not females with a high Politician component. Julia Gillard and Maggie Thatcher are two that come to mind.
I must confess I do not see the 7MTF/Humm traits as being masculine or feminine. Yes the Doublechecker component is more commonly found in females but there are a lot of males who are agreeable in temperament. In addition while it is hard to change one’s temperament you can change your behaviour. You can learn to be more assertive. Most important of all knowing what are your strong and weak temperament components and what is the temperament profile of the successful leader can be the key becoming a respected manager.
This blog was first published in LinkedIn on 4 March 2018. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/more-thoughts-gender-inequality-christopher-golis/
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