Misunderstandings are outperforming organisations with all male leadership

Misunderstandings
between genders often cause conflict within the workplace. Men and women
perceive information differently, which could lead to feelings of exclusion or
allegations of harassment or sex discrimination (Adepoju, Ajiboye
and Koleoso, 2016). Managers can
combat this problem through training and development, initiatives that focus on
increased awareness of gender-related issues. Managers can also encourage
change in employee behaviour to strengthen the working relationship between men
and women, leading by example (Patel and Buiting,
2013).

 

It is critical for organisations to take seriously the
danger of men’s unconscious gender bias because it can lead to very big
consequences. Plus, organisations that lack gender diversity in leadership are
beginning to suffer their consequences in much more publicly seen ways.

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They are proving to be far less innovative, far less profitable, and far less
successful. While those organisations that do have female executives and female
board members are outperforming organisations with all male leadership by over
53% (nhammond, 2007; DeRUE and ASHFORD, 2010; Nohria and
Khurana, 2010; Ely, Ibarra and Kolb, 2011; Kolb, 2013; Williams, 2015; Ibarra
and Petriglieri, 2016).

 

Managers should adjust
hiring and promotion procedures to overcome gender stereotypes.

In situations
where blind evaluations are impractical or impossible (UN Women, 2011). Most management and executive selections are made
by considering a slate of qualified candidates whose qualifications and
experience more or less match a carefully constructed formal job description.

In theory, meritocracy rules and the “best candidate” is chosen.

However, female
and minority candidates are perceived as less ready and riskier and thus are
subjected to higher standards before being included on the slate. Requiring
diverse slates puts the responsibility on hiring managers and human resource professionals
to identify a range of candidates and ensure that they are well prepared (WEF, 2013).

Leaders should be
evaluating multiple candidates simultaneously rather than individually. Gender
stereotypes most frequently influence perceptions of task performance for those
tasks commonly assumed to be gender-related, including leadership behaviours
and characteristics (Bohnet and Green,
2017).

To counteract
implicit unintentional gender bias, interventions need to build on insights
into how the human mind works. Because biases are subconscious, just informing
people about them will not solve these issues. Rather, changing environments is
necessary, including changing organisational practices such as hiring,
promoting and evaluating – to make it easy for our biased selves to base
decisions on performance rather than stereotypes (Giscombe and
Jenner, 2017).

 

An example of such
a nudge is evaluating candidates jointly rather than separately. The
researchers found that when evaluating candidates separately, evaluators ultimately
disregard information on the candidate’s past performance and almost
exclusively base their hiring decision on the candidate’s gender (Gummer and Soon,
2016). In contrast,
when evaluating several candidates at the same time, gender becomes almost
irrelevant and evaluators base their decisions on the candidate’s past performance.

Particularly when hiring at more junior levels, it is common for candidates to
be subject to “joint evaluation”. Interviewing various candidates at the
entry-level stage, organisations explicitly compare them with one another (Parkinson, Gifford
and CIPD, 2015). By contrast, job
assignments and promotion decisions are typically made on an individual basis,
or through “separate evaluation”: a manager is evaluated on whether she is
ready to work on a more complex project, an attorney is assessed on whether he
should be promoted to partner, or a junior faculty member is reviewed on
whether she will be granted tenure.

Additionally, expunge subtle
gender biases about what makes a leader from performance management and
succession planning processes. How can biases in talent management systems be
eliminated? Senior leadership, HR departments, managers and employees must
develop and embrace a broader perspective of what makes an effective leader and
become proficient in recognising leadership potential in “non-traditional”
candidates (Leadership Academy,
2015).

A Catalyst
assessment of 110 talent management systems found that companies that fail to
guard against gender bias often rely on stereotypically feminine or masculine
characteristics in job descriptions and performance appraisals. A more
inclusive talent management system should gauge employees on actual results and
potential, not simply characteristics subject to biased perspectives (Bagues and
Esteve-Volart, 2011).

 

In Catalyst’s
Pipeline’s Broken Promise, Anne M. Mulcahy, retired Chairman and CEO of Xerox,
suggested that companies should “take the resumes of the last 100 people hired,
remove the names, do an assessment of where the hires should be positioned and

compare that with
where they were placed.” (Carter and Silva,
2010). When they find
disparities that cannot be explained by concrete performance evidence, they
should recognise unintended gender bias and rectify the situation.

Further thing that
could be enforced is by giving women stretch assignments that directly impact
the bottom line. In addition to fostering a robust talent pipeline, stretch
assignments have been linked by Catalyst research to increased career
satisfaction and job commitment (Kohler and dinolfo,
2012).More stretch
assignments constitute a win-win for women and business (Anika K. Warren,
2009).Best practice in
leadership development remains the 70-20-10 method: 70% of a person’s
development should come from on-the-job training in key assignments, 20% from
mentoring and 10% from training. (Bohnet, Geen and
Bazerman, 2012).

Yet instead of
giving women assignments that will allow them to learn and prove themselves,
many companies expect women to make it into senior management simply through
formal mentoring and self-improvement courses. Women’s assignments must become
a top – if not the number one – priority (Carter and Silva,
2013).

 

Lastly, redesign
mentoring programmes to focus on getting, women into strategic business roles.

Some companies have recognised the importance of sponsorship and have
instituted formal sponsorship programmes for women (Carter and Silva,
2011). Even without a
formal programme, senior leaders can take immediate action by looking broadly,
deeply and often for talent – and not just select from those already “on the
list”.

As one male
sponsor interviewed by Catalyst put it: “If I’m rewarding performance and showcasing
performance and recognising value contributions, then everyone has a shot at my
sponsorship.” Senior leaders should look for high performers who might get
passed over by others – talented individuals who are not well represented at
the top. And they should expect others to sponsor (Abbott, 2017).

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