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Women Must Be Seen As Warm To Appear Confident

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The lack of women in leadership positions in the workforce in undeniable. Females make up a little more than half of the US population, but hold less than 15 percent of executive office positions; something doesn't add up here, right? Although females in leadership roles certainly do exist exist, it is about as rare to see a female CEO as it is to see a Republican and a Democrat having a calm discussion about gun control.

Why is it that immensely capable and driven women are not getting these positions? According to business researchers Margarita Mayo, Laura Guillen and Natalia Karelaia in the Harvard Business Review, it's all a matter of confidence. This explanation makes perfect sense — people who have more confidence are more likely to go for promotions and take risks to impress their colleagues and superiors in the work place. But why does this limit a woman's ability to move up?

In a previous study, also conducted by the same researchers, it was found that "women tend to rate their abilities accurately, while men tend to be overconfident about theirs." Due to the fact that the men appear to be more cocky when it comes to their capabilities, they seem more confident than the women who simply tell an unembellished truth about their own.

Research has shown that competence and warmth are the two most prominent indicators of confidence. Prompted by this concept and the regrettable rarity of women in leadership positions, a new study was conducted in which competence, warmth and confidence were all tested in order to determine the likelihood of a female being promoted.

The study determined that men are considered to be confident as long as they're competent at their jobs. Meanwhile, women are only considered confident by employers or outsiders if they come across as both competent and warm. In fact, when a woman in the study did not seem warm at all, her competence and her confidence did not correlate whatsoever. This means that without being warm, an employer could consider a highly-qualified female employee unconfident and unable to be promoted. 

Women and men are still being held to entirely different standards in the work place, which is totally outdated and uncool. Women who are far more confident and capable than their male counterparts are still being denied promotions due to a lack of warmth, a stereotypical attribute for the female gender. We can only hope that in the near future, executives begin to promote equality in the workplace, and that more hard working women will finally start to get the positions that they deserve.


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