A new study has found that women outperform men on nearly all emotional intelligence measures.
What are the implications for management?
First, let’s look at the data. The research, conducted by the Korn Ferry Hay Group, used data from 55,000 professionals in 90 countries. Their key finding? In 11 of 12 “emotional intelligence competencies” women outperformed men.
The only category in which women didn’t receive the better scores was “emotional self-control,” where no gender differences were found.
In numerous other categories important for management success, however, women did score higher. A few key examples:
Inspirational Leadership: Women scored in 54th percentile, men in 47th percentile.
Coaching and Mentoring: Women scored in 57th percentile, men in 46th percentile.
Organizational Awareness: Women scored in 56th percentile, men in 46th percentile.
Adaptability: Women scored in 54th percentile, men in 48th percentile.
Does this data suggest that, in the aggregate, women are better suited for management than men are? Of course, this is a delicate, emotionally charged question.
When I asked that question of the study’s authors, the response was, “Regardless of gender, our data shows that the most effective leaders within organizations are those who are able to demonstrate emotional and social intelligence. Whether remaining calm during times of turbulence, inspiring and building team consensus, or serving as an empathetic mentor and coach to nurture the next generation of professionals, leaders who tap into their social and emotional intelligence competencies make for highly effective managers.”
OK, I get it. The sponsors want insightful research, not a gender firestorm. Fair enough. But to follow their logic, if the most effective leaders are those who demonstrate “emotional and social intelligence,” well, women clearly more often exhibited such intelligence on this particular large survey.