Women score higher than men on nearly all emotional intelligence competencies, except emotional self- control, where no gender differences are observed.
Data from 55,000 professionals across 90 countries and all levels of management, collected between 2011-2015, using the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI), developed and co-owned by Richard E. Boyatzis, Daniel Goleman and Hay Group, found that women more effectively employ the emotional and social competencies correlated with effective leadership and management than men.
"Historically in the workplace, there has been a tendency for women to self-evaluate themselves as less competent, while men tend to overrate themselves in their competencies," said Boyatzis, Distinguished University Professor, Case Western Reserve University.
"Research shows, however, that the reality is often the opposite. If more men acted like women in employing their emotional and social competencies, they would be substantially and distinctly more effective in their work."
When assessing the competency levels of both men and women across the 12 key areas of emotional and social intelligence, Hay Group research found that the greatest difference between men and women can be seen in emotional self- awareness, where women are 86% more likely than men to be seen as using the competency consistently. This apart, women are 45% more likely than men to be seen as demonstrating empathy consistently.
The smallest margin of difference is seen in positive outlook. When it comes to this emotional intelligence competency, women are only 9% more likely to exhibit the competency consistently than men.
Other competencies in which women outperform men are coaching & mentoring, influence, inspirational leadership, conflict management, organizational awareness, adaptability, teamwork and achievement orientation.
Emotional self-control is the only competency in which men and women showed equal performance.
"The data suggests a strong need for more women in the workforce to take on leadership roles," said Goleman, Co-Director of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations at Rutgers University. "
As organizations increasingly recognize the importance of providing resources to further nurture and develop female leaders, women who score highly in these emotional and social intelligence competencies will rise to the top.
In addition, according to Hay Group research, levels of emotional intelligence displayed by a leader are strongly related with how long their team members plan to stay with the organization.
Debabrat Mishra, Director at Korn Ferry Hay Group added, "We have worked extensively with clients from various industries and our experience is that leaders who focus on emotional intelligence are the most effective leaders.
They manage to drive a team by using an empathetic approach and this quality is more prevalent in women leaders. In our experience, women are underestimated for what they can do in leadership roles.
Our research shows that women are more equipped with emotional intelligence and therefore are more likely to lead effectively. For businesses to succeed in their leadership pipeline creation, the untapped potential of their women leaders could be a quick win."
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