New Research Shows Women Are Better at Using Soft Skills Crucial for Effective Leadership and Superior Business Performance, Finds Korn Ferry Hay Group
Women Outperform Men in 11 of 12 Key Emotional Intelligence Competencies
Data from 55,000 professionals across 90 countries and all levels of
management, collected between 2011-2015, using the Emotional
and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI),
developed and co-owned by
“Historically in the workplace, there has been a tendency for women to
self-evaluate themselves as less competent, while men tend to overrate
themselves in their competencies,” said Boyatzis, Ph.D., Distinguished
In fact, when assessing the competency levels of both men and women
across the 12 key areas of emotional and social intelligence,
- The greatest difference between men and women can be seen in emotional self-awareness, where women are 86% more likely than men to be seen as using the competency consistently (18.4% of women demonstrate the competency consistently compared to just 9.9% of men).
- Women are 45% more likely than men to be seen as demonstrating empathy consistently.
- The smallest margin of difference is seen in positive outlook. When it comes to this emotional intelligence competency, women are only 9% more likely to exhibit the competency consistently than men.
- Other competencies in which women outperform men are coaching & mentoring, influence, inspirational leadership, conflict management, organizational awareness, adaptability, teamwork and achievement orientation.
- Emotional self-control is the only competency in which men and women showed equal performance.
“The data suggests a strong need for more women in the workforce to take
on leadership roles,” said Goleman, Co-Director of the
As organizations increasingly recognize the importance of providing resources to further nurture and develop female leaders, women who score highly in these emotional and social intelligence competencies will rise to the top. Further, as these competencies underpin highly effective performance, men have a great opportunity to learn from women in the workplace how to best leverage these emotional and social competencies to become more effective leaders. Through greater emotional intelligence, both men and women are able to boost performance within their organizations, accomplishing their goals through both internal and external stakeholders.
In addition, according to
Stephen Lams, Talent Product Manager at
Notes to Editors
About the data
The ESCI tool measures 12 emotional and social intelligence competencies proven to impact business performance: achievement orientation, adaptability, coaching and mentoring, conflict management, empathy, emotional self-awareness, inspirational leadership, influence, organizational awareness, positive outlook, teamwork and emotional self-control.
Data on how long team members planned to stay with their organization is based on answers from individuals that assessed their leaders on EI competencies, and also separately completed Hay Group’s Employee Effectiveness survey which includes a question related to their planned tenure:
- Typically, team members planning to stay for more than 5 years or until retirement report that their manager displays an average of eight EI competencies consistently.
- Conversely, team members planning to stay for less than 12 months report that their manager displays an average of just three competencies consistently.
- Leaders who are perceived as not demonstrating any EI competency consistently have twice as many employees planning to leave within 12 months versus those who have one or more strengths (13.7% versus 6.0%).
For Korn Ferry
Evan Stisser, 212-221-4616