Cheerful women not associated with leadership qualities

Cheerful women not associated with leadership qualities

Cheerful women not associated with leadership qualities

Too happy? Ladies, you may be harming your career by looking cheerful!
Women who give a cheerful impression are judged to be less willing to undertake leadership roles than men who display similar emotions, a new study has found.

Economic researchers at Technische Universitat Munchen (TUM) in Germany found that cheerful women are not associated with leadership qualities – but proud ones are.

"To increase their share of leadership positions, women are expected to tick a range of boxes - usually demonstrating improved negotiation skills, networking strengths and the ability to develop a strategic career ladder. But even these skills are not enough," said Professor Isabell Welpe of TUM's Chair for Strategy and Organisation.

"They ignore the fact that there are stereotypes that on a subconscious level play a decisive role in the assessment of high achievers. Leaders should be assertive, dominant and hard-lined; women are seen as mediators, friendly, social," Welpe said.

In a number of studies, researchers presented a variety of scenarios with (potential) leaders and their employees to randomly selected individuals. They then asked the study participants about their perceptions and expectations.

It emerged that the same behaviour exhibited by women and men in leadership positions is assessed in different ways. If employees were assigned a task in a certain scenario, the study participants expected better performance if a man had delegated the work.
The study participants saw scenarios in which men and women were either cheerful or proud of their personal performance, or else showing no emotion at all.

Those who came across as proud were assessed as having greater leadership willingness. This effect was significantly more pronounced in the case of the women in the study.

"Women who looked cheerful were judged to be less willing to lead. Pride, on the other hand, is positively associated with leadership qualities," Welpe said.