Women Leaders Get Results: The Data

Women Leaders Get Results: The Data

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The most effective leaders, we’ve long known, have more competence in emotional intelligence. It’s not your college degrees or IQ that make you an outstanding leader, but emotional intelligence abilities. Leaders who get the best results tend to show more strengths in key competencies in emotional intelligence.

Now the news comes that women, on average, are better at almost all these crucial leadership skills than are men on average. The two competencies where men and women had the least difference were emotional self-control and positive outlook. The largest difference was for self-awareness.

The other areas where women on average scored better than men:

  • coaching and mentoring
  • influence and inspiring others
  • conflict management and teamwork
  • empathy and organizational awareness
  • adaptability
  • focus on achieving goals.

These abilities have been identified repeatedly by companies themselves when they look at their own leaders to generate a model of the abilities that set the star performers apart from the rest. These competencies of the stars are what leading companies look for in the people they hire, promote, and groom for leadership.

This sounds like a wake up call to any organization: you are ignoring a critical factor in your own success if you lag in recruiting women to leadership positions – and most companies are in that boat.

The data showing a leadership advantage in women are very strong, based on 360-degree ratings of 55,000 men and women using the well-validated Emotional and Social Competence Inventory (a tool developed by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis, professor in the business school at Case Western University, and the Hay Group, a division of Korn Ferry).

But just as companies need to avoid a bias favoring men for leadership positions, the answer does not lie in an across-the-board bias favoring women instead. The smart way to use this finding lies in spotting the right women for leadership.

The key phrase in interpreting these findings is “on average.” Any broad comparison of men and women on a behavior like emotional intelligence yields two largely overlapping bell curves, with women’s average ratings higher than men. But because these curves overlap that means any given man might be as effective in, say, achieving goals or teamwork as any woman.

You need to evaluate the individual, not just look to gender as a guide. If you do, more women are likely to end up in the pool most qualified for leadership. Of course men high in emotional intelligence should also be ripe candidates.

Given the current under-promotion of talented women to the top ranks, the bottom line here: organizations would be more effective if they strove for gender equality in the higher ranks.

And they would do even better if they spot the right women – and so end up with the very best people in their circle of leaders.

Discover How to Buy Happiness

Discover How to Buy Happiness

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Michael Norton shares fascinating research on how money can, indeed buy happiness — when you don’t spend it on yourself. Listen for surprising data on the many ways pro-social spending can benefit you, your work, and (of course) other people.

Michael Norton is a professor of business administration in the marketing unit at the Harvard Business School. He holds a B.A. in Psychology and English from Williams and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Princeton. Prior to joining HBS, Professor Norton was a Fellow at the MIT Media Lab and MIT’s Sloan School of Management. His work has been published in a number of leading academic journals, including Science, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Science, and the Annual Review of Psychology, and has been covered in media outlets such as the Economist, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.

Happiness: Getting Our Priorities Right

Happiness: Getting Our Priorities Right

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There is a vitally important shift underway in how we think about progress. Growing numbers of economists, political leaders and expert commentators are calling for better measures of how well society is doing; measures that track not just our economic standard of living, but our overall quality of life. This shift also mirrors the way many of us are feeling too: that the modern consumer economy has failed to deliver fair outcomes and fulfilling lives.

In recent decades our lives have become increasingly orientated in the service of the economy, rather than the other way around. Yet economic growth is really just a means to an end; it only matters if it contributes to social progress and human wellbeing. And the tragedy is that decades of growth and material progress have failed to deliver a measurable increase in life satisfaction.

When Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he was asking the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to start measuring the UK’s national wellbeing, this was greeted with derision and eye-rolling in the media. Critics suggested that it was a cynical attempt to distract us from our economic woes, or simply a waste of money at a time when there are more important things to worry about.

These concerns are understandable, but misplaced. It is of course difficult to trust a government that claims a commitment to wellbeing while simultaneously slashing funding for public services that contribute to it. But to see this only through a political lens would be to miss the point. Focusing on wellbeing isn’t a distraction, it’s about finding out what will really improve people’s lives and then acting on it, which is surely what good government should be all about?

For the very first time the UK is now officially measuring and valuing people’s subjective feelings about their lives. This isn’t some Orwellian nightmare where we’re forced to be happy with our lot; in fact it’s quite the opposite. It is an opportunity for government to listen to how we’re feeling and learn what we value most. Over time it could lead to a greater focus on initiatives that are good for people’s wellbeing, and recognition that these aren’t always the same as what’s good for growing the economy.

So what did we learn from the initial publication of ONS wellbeing data in December 2011? Despite all the economic doom and gloom, it seems that more than three quarters of people rated their overall life satisfaction as seven or more out of ten.

Countries like Denmark and Canada however, consistently score above eight out of ten for average life satisfaction, so we could be doing better. More worryingly, 8% of people rated their life satisfaction as less than 5 out of 10. This is a very low life satisfaction score, similar to average scores in countries like Bangladesh and Cambodia.

Most worryingly of all, 27% of the population recorded high levels of anxiety. Some of this may relate to the economic climate, but much of it undoubtedly reflects the enormous pressure that people are under in our increasingly competitive society. Many who appear successful in outward, material terms are actually suffering serious emotional and psychological trauma.

Understanding these findings and what drives them should be a top priority for policy makers. Evidence suggests that a focus on wellbeing might lead to a greater emphasis on promoting good mental health; putting economic stability before economic growth; teaching life skills in schools; and supporting families in need – particularly young children in their formative years. For example, at a local level, a council considering the closure of a library or play area to make way for a new commercial development might act differently.

But perhaps most importantly, rethinking what we prioritize also has implications for each of us as individuals. The self-centered values that have accompanied our quest for economic growth have encouraged too many of us to put our financial success ahead of concerns for the wellbeing of our families, our communities and even ourselves.

We too can benefit from a shift in priorities and recognition that real happiness is less about what we earn or own and more about our relationships and state of mind; it’s as much about what we can contribute as what we can get for ourselves. A happier society starts with each of us.

Getting to a society where as many people as possible are flourishing and as few people as possible are unhappy, requires both policy and social change. But let’s also recognize that we can all play our part in helping create a happier society.

Relieve Stress by Coloring Mandalas

Relieve Stress by Coloring Mandalas

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Adults have long used crafts to unwind, but why coloring books? Why now? It may have something to do with online access — and, funnily enough, the desire to unplug.

Like children, adults need a break from screen time– and many are rediscovering the analog pleasures of coloring inside the lines. The therapeutic benefits of art are nothing new; it’s a concept that practitioners use with patients of all ages.

Mindfulness and meditative coloring are recurring themes in the growing adult coloring book industry. A search for “adult coloring books” online will yield several books of mandalas, a ritual symbol in Buddhism and Hinduism that represents the universe, waiting to be colored in.

Mandala means “sacred circle” in Sanskrit. Circles appear in nature (flowers, snowflakes, sun, moon, etc.) and are also powerful symbols in cultures throughout world history. In various spiritual traditions, mandalas are used to facilitate meditation and are used in sacred rites as a transformative tool to assist with healing.

In the many traditions where mandalas are used, there are different rites where the practitioner, at least metaphorically, establishes a dialogue with the symbol or deity at the core of the mandala by moving progressively from the outside towards the centre.

Once within the centre, the practitioner connects with the central symbol or deity and he or she is able to perceive all manifestations as part of a single underlying whole and gets closer to the goal of enlightenment or perfect understanding.

Tibetan Buddhist Monks and Native American Indians all use mandalas as a way of evoking spiritual energy, meditation and healing. Psychologist Carl Jung used mandalas with his clients and for his own personal growth. His studies revealed their creation allowed a deep healing to take place from within the human psyche.

In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space, and as an aid to meditation and trance induction.

Focusing on what you are coloring will help relieve stress in three ways:

  • It is a distraction from whatever negative thoughts you were focusing on.
  • Coloring keeps your hands busy, allowing your mind to wander. You can solve a lot of problems and come up with some creative ideas.
  • Connecting with our creative source is healing. We are all creative beings. Remembering how to be creative is a powerful way to relieve stress. When we remember how creative we are, we know we can solve any problem.

If you choose to color a mandala it will tap into your creativity without any need for artistic expertise. The process of coloring can sooth and nourish you. Coloring mandalas is a great way to start using mandalas in your everyday life.

You can find many online pages with all kinds of mandalas click here to check one of them.

The Book That Dismantles “The Myths of Happiness”

The Book That Dismantles “The Myths of Happiness”

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In “The Myths of Happiness”, Sonja Lyubomirsky isolates the major turning points of adult life, looking to both achievements (marriage, children, professional satisfaction, wealth) and failures (divorce, financial ruin, illness) to reveal that our misconceptions about the impact of such events is perhaps the greatest threat to our long-term well-being.

Lyubomirsky argues that we have been given false promises—myths that assure us that lifelong happiness will be attained once we hit the culturally confirmed markers of adult success. This restricted view of happiness works to discourage us from recognizing the upside of any negative life turn and blocks us from recognizing our own growth potential. Our outsized expectations transform natural rites of passage into emotional land mines and steer us to make toxic decisions, as “The Myths of Happiness” reveals.

Because we expect the best (or the worst) from life’s turning points, we shortsightedly place too much weight on our initial emotional responses. “The Myths of Happiness” empowers readers to look beyond their first response, sharing scientific evidence that often it is our mindset—not our circumstances—that matters. Central to these findings is the notion of hedonic adaptation, the fact that people are far more adaptable than they think. Even after a major life change—good or bad—we tend to return to our initial happiness level, forgetting what once made us elated or why we felt that life was so unbearable. “The Myths of Happiness” offers the perspective we need to make wiser choices, sharing how to slow the effects of this adaptation after a positive turn and find the way forward in a time of darkness.

In “The Myths of Happiness”, Sonja Lyubomirsky turns an empirical eye to the biggest, messiest moments, providing readers with the clear-eyed vision they need to build the healthiest, most satisfying life. A corrective course on happiness and a call to regard life’s twists and turns with a more open mind, “The Myths of Happiness” shares practical lessons with life-changing potential.

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