IT Brief Australia logo
Technology news for Australia's largest enterprises
Story image

Should a woman act more like a man to succeed at work?

By Shannon Williams
Mon 7 Mar 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

A new study is looking into why women don’t make up more the workforce at C-suite executive level.

According to Consultancy firm Development Dimensions International (DDI), less than 20% of C-suite executives are women, and only five percent of CEOs are women, despite women comprising more than half of the workforce.

To help answer why there are not more women in the top ranks of leadership, DDI has released two research studies aimed at finding the answers.

The first, Ready-Now Leaders: Cultivating Women in Leadership to Meet Tomorrow’s Business Challenges by DDI and The Conference Board, identifies confidence as one of the few but significant leadership differences between the sexes.

DDI’s High-Resolution Leadership study reviewed true assessment data from 10,000 global leaders and found no difference in the battle of the sexes for leadership skills. Men and women equally qualified in business drivers around hard- and soft-business skills - with neither gender scoring high. However, the study did identify three personality differences - inquisitiveness, sensitivity and impulsiveness -between the two sexes.

In response, DDI asked, to get ahead, should a woman act more like a man at work?

“The quick answer is no - except when it comes to confidence,” says Tacy M. Byham, Ph.D., DDI CEO.

“Women need to do a better job of declaring themselves and becoming their own advocate - speaking and acting confidently and mentally promoting themselves to a future-focused role,” Byham explains.

“With this mindset, our own behaviours change. And, a woman’s impact is strengthened and improves her ability to get that seat at the table.”

Combined findings from the research include:

Fact 1: Women are less confident and less likely to rate themselves as highly effective leaders compared to men.

Men highly self-rate their own leadership skills and their ability to tackle management and business challenges.

Only 30% of women rate themselves in the top 10% of leaders, in comparison to 37% of men. At the senior level, 63% of men rate themselves as highly-effective leaders compared to only 49% of women.

Women were less likely to have completed international assignments, to have led across countries or geographically dispersed teams, all of which make up important development opportunities. Leaders who had access to global and more visible experiences are more likely to advance.

Fact 2: Business drivers comparing men and women yield no significant differences.

Business drivers examined include: Building high-performance cultures; engaging employees; cultivating a customer-focused culture; creating alignment and accountability; enhancing organisational talent; building strategic partnerships and relationships, driving process innovation and driving efficiency.

“The reality is we tend to focus too much on differences which are actually few and far between,” explains Richard S. Wellins, Ph.D., DDI senior vice president and study co-author.

“The disparity in gender diversity has little to do with competence levels.”

Fact 3: Considerable personality gaps exist between the sexes in inquisitiveness, sensitivity and impulsiveness.

The research shows that men are 16% more inquisitive than women, possibly due to their tendency to gravitate towards STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers that reinforce inquiry.

Women are interpersonally more sensitive than men (13 more), which can be an advantage in cultures where leaders are valued for demeanor and interactions with others.

Men also score as more impulsive than women (11% more) which could result from the reinforced ‘just do it’ attitude where women are nurtured with the outlook ‘don’t do it unless you can do it right’.

Fact 4: Organisations with a greater percentage of women in leadership roles perform better financially.

Organisations in the top 20% of financial performers have 37% of their leaders as women.

“When it comes to leadership, gender shouldn’t be an issue, but it is - a business issue,” says Byham.

“Encouraging gender diversity in leadership ranks leads to more diversity of thought prompting improved problem solving and increased business benefits.”

Organisations with women in at least 30% of leadership roles are 12 times more likely to be in the top 20% of financial performers. Organisations in the bottom 20% have only 19% of their leaders as women.

“DDI research shows that when women occupy top leadership spots it pays dividends to the bottom-line in the form of increased revenue and profits,” Byham says.

Fact 5: The United States ranks fourth globally in percentage of women leaders.

Across the globe, women comprise a lower proportion of leadership roles than their workforce presence, falling short of men by 20%. DDI’s Ready-Now Leaders: Cultivating Women in Leadership to Meet Tomorrow’s Business Challenges survey asked 1,528 global HR executives to provide the percentage of their organisations’ leaders that were women. The Philippines placed first with 51% of its leaders as women, followed by Thailand at 39%. Canada took third place at 37% with the U.S. lagging behind in fourth place with 36% of its leaders as women.

Increasing gender diversity has become an economic priority in countries such as Japan that placed last with 10% of its leaders as women. With an increase in Japan’s female employment rate, the country’s workforce would expand by more than eight million people—and its GDP would grow by as much as 13%. Cultural and socioeconomic factors impact the role of women in the workplace. Australia and Germany are addressing these shortages with legal quotas - further evidence that the need for gender diversity has far greater implications beyond business practices.

Whether or not government intervention impacts these numbers, the data indicates that businesses with a sufficient supply of women leaders will continue to be more competitive.

Fact 6: The lowest number of women in leadership roles are in the consumer products, transportation services, computer software, technology, chemicals, energy and utilities, construction, industrial manufacturing and automotive and transport industries (15 to 30%of leaders are women).

Industries with the highest have more female-dominated workforces and include health care, education and retail industries (43 to 47% of leaders are women). Industries with a moderate representation of women leaders include: food, banking and telecommunications services.

The number of women employed and leading in an industry influences the opportunities for women to advance and develop and has implications for the future.

Industries with shortages of women in leadership suffer due to fewer role models and mentors to provide encouragement and guidance to encourage younger generations into leadership roles.

Want more women in leadership roles?

Implement these seven practices which have been shown to make a difference driving diversity.

“But remember, to be successful, happy, and fulfilled at work and in life, it’s less about acting more like a man or more like a woman,” says Byham. “It is about becoming a best-ever version of yourself.”

1. Make sure your leaders have high-quality development plans.

2. Implement a formal process for identifying global/multinational leaders.

3. Give managers who fail to develop their leaders a negative consequence.

4. Ensure that an up-to-date status of leadership talent capability across the organization is available.

5. Use validation tests and simulations for making leadership promotion and selection decisions to prevent bias.

6. Incorporate formal programs to ensure smooth leadership transitions at all levels. (Female representation tends to be greater at lower levels.)

7. Provide time for leaders to practice key skills with their managers and receive feedback.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves - Forcepoint, Malwarebytes, SolarWinds & VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 13-20, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Let’s clear the cloud visibility haze with app awareness
Increasingly, organisations are heading for the cloud, initiating new born-in-the-cloud architectures and migrating existing applications via ‘lift and shift’ or refactoring.
Story image
Remote Working
Successful digital transformation in the hybrid work era is about embracing shifting goalposts
As organisations embraced remote working, many discovered they lacked the infrastructure needed to support history’s first global load test of remote work capabilities.
Story image
Vectra AI
Understanding the weight on security leader’s shoulders, and how to shift it
Millions of dollars of government funding and internal budgets are being funnelled into cybersecurity to build resilience against sophisticated threats, indicating how serious this issue has become.
Story image
Zendesk announces new conversational CRM solutions
“The last few years have made it obvious that digital is the front door, convenience is paramount and relationships are anchored in conversations."
Story image
Digital Transformation
How to modernise legacy apps without compromising security
At a time when digital transformation has become central to business, even the most important applications come with a ‘use-by’ date.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
SAS announces new products amid cloud portfolio success
Analytics and AI company SAS is deepening its broad industry portfolio with offerings that support life sciences, energy, and martech.
Story image
Digital Transformation
The impact of COVID-19 on healthcare environments and care delivery
The COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionised the healthcare industry while overcoming staff shortages, social distancing requirements, and lockdowns.
Story image
Qualys updates Cloud Platform solution with rapid remediation
The new update is designed to enable organisations to fix asset misconfigurations, patch OS and third-party applications, and deploy custom software.
Story image
Remote Working
Australia’s remote workers face connectivity and security issues
SOTI's new report finds better video conferencing technology and improved security measures are top concerns for remote workers in Australia.
Story image
Telstra enters into new RSP agreement with Opticomm
Telstra has entered into an RSP agreement with Opticomm (A Uniti Group Limited subsidiary) to provide network fibre services to customers.
Story image
Nozomi Networks
Nozomi Networks, Siemens reveal software integration
Nozomi Networks and Siemens have extended their partnership by embedding Nozomi Networks’ software into the Siemens Scalance LPE local processing engine.
Story image
Data Protection
Barracuda launches new capabilities for API Protection
"Every business needs this type of critical protection against API vulnerabilities and automated bot attacks," Barracuda says.
Story image
Could your Excel practices be harming your business?
While Excel has been the de-facto standard for budgeting, planning, and forecasting, is it alone, enough to support organisations in the global marketplace that’s facing rapid changes due to digital transformation?
Story image
Apple previews new features for users with disabilities
Apple says new software features that offer users with disabilities new tools for navigation, health and communication, are set to come out later this year.
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
New vulnerabilities found in Nuspire’s Q1 2022 Threat Report
“Threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics and these exploits tend to get industry attention, but the threat posed by older and attacks still persists."
Story image
New Relic enters multi-year partnership with Microsoft Azure
New Relic has announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft to help enterprises accelerate cloud migration and multi-cloud initiatives. 
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
Data backup plans inadequate, data still at risk - study
The Apricorn 2022 Global IT Security Survey revealed that while the majority organisations have data backup plans in place, data for many are at risk.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Pluralsight and Ingram Micro Cloud team up on cloud initiative
Pluralsight has teamed with Ingram Micro Cloud to build upon cloud competence and maturity internally, and externally support partners’ capabilities.
Story image
Customer experience
Research unveils precarious customer loyalty for retailers
New research has found customers are reassessing established brand loyalties as their priorities and behaviours shift.
Story image
A third of companies paying ransom don’t recover data - report
Veeam's report finds 76% of businesses who are victims of cyberattacks paid the ransom to recover data, but a third were still unable to get their information back.
Story image
9/10 Aussies to stop spending if personal data compromised
"Based on the patterns we are seeing among Australian consumers, it is evident that trust in a brand is exceptionally important."
Story image
Digital Transformation
Trading up: It's time to swap core systems for flexible digital applications
This year will see more oranisations planning and commencing high tech renovations that will shake up the way they operate.
Story image
Customer experience
Gartner recognises Okta for abilities in Access Management
Okta has announced it has been recognised as a Customers' Choice for the fourth time in a row in the Gartner Peer Insights "Voice of the Customer" report.
Story image
Alarming surge in Conti Ransomware Group activity - report
A new report has identified a 7.6 per cent increase in the number of vulnerabilities tied to ransomware in Q1 2022.
Story image
HINDSITE wins Aerospace Xelerated Pitch Challenge with solution to support Boeing
Brisbane-based startup HINDSITE was the winner of the first ever Pitch Challenge organised by Aerospace Xelerated in partnership with Queensland XR Hub. 
Story image
Grasping the opportunity to rethink the metrics of a sustainable data centre
A data centre traditionally has two distinct operations teams: the Facility Operations team, and the IT Operations team. Collaboration between them is the key to defining, measuring, and delivering long-term efficiency and sustainability improvements.
Story image
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
For every 10PB of storage run on HyperDrive vs. comparable alternatives, an estimated 6,656 tonnes of CO₂ are saved by reduced energy consumption alone over its lifespan. That’s the equivalent of taking nearly 1,500 cars off the road for a year.
Link image
Story image
Data and analytics could be key to higher selling prices in APAC
Sisense's latest report has found that almost half of data professionals in APAC think customised data and analytics can create better selling prices for their products.
Story image
Supply chain
Jetstack promotes better security with supply chain toolkit
The web-based resource is designed to help organisations evaluate and plan the crucial steps they need to establish effective software supply chain security.
Story image
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Power at the edge: the role of data centers in sustainability
The Singaporean moratorium on new data center projects was recently lifted, with one of the conditions being an increased focus on power efficiency and sustainability.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
AI-based email security platform Abnormal Security valued at $4B
"A new breed of cybersecurity solutions that leverage AI is required to change the game and stop the rising threat of sophisticated and targeted email attacks."
Story image
Airwallex launches new bank feed integration with NetSuite
Airwallex has launched a new bank feed integration with NetSuite, developed in partnership with NetSuite solution partner, Onlineone.
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Workato unveils enhancements to enterprise automation platform
"The extra layer of protection with EKM, zero-logging, and hourly key rotation gives customers a lot more visibility and control over more sensitive data."
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
CFOs using digital workers and AI to prevent unnecessary loss
New technology is now allowing CFOs to use digital workers to automate their accounting processes, making it easier for them to avoid unnecessary losses.
Story image
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Nutanix study reveals financial services sector lagging with multicloud adoption
Nutanix has released new research that reveals the financial services sector is lagging behind when it comes to multicloud adoption.
Story image
Cradlepoint expands its Cellular Intelligence capabilities
Cradlepoint has announced additional Cellular Intelligence capabilities with its NetCloud service.