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Posted by: Jena McGregor on August 10, 2009
Women may think they’re really good at their jobs, but they tend to suspect others don’t see it that way.
At least that’s the finding of a study being presented at the Academy of Management conference on Aug. 11 by assistant professor Scott Taylor of the University of New Mexico’s business school. Taylor asked 251 managers—most of them MBA program graduates—to rate their own leadership qualities and then predict how others would grade them in a separate, 360-degree review.
The result? While the men slightly overestimated the scores their bosses and others gave them (by 0.5%), women underestimated their review scores by an average 11%. This isn’t explained by a confidence gap, Taylor says. With an average 17 years’ work experience, the men and women rated themselves about equally high on leadership traits and performance. Some of the perception gap, Taylor says, may be due to getting less feedback or be “a carryover from years of women thinking that to be appreciated they had to work twice as hard as men.”
So what kind of reviews did the women in the study get from others? On leadership criteria they scored an average 4.02 out of 5. The men averaged 3.86.
How can you manage smarter? BusinessWeek writers Nanette Byrnes, Patricia O’Connell, Emily Thornton, Matthew Boyle, Michelle Conlin and Diane Brady synthesize insights from the brightest business thinkers, critique the latest management trends, and comment on leaders in the news.