Dear  Contact First Name

Welcome to the Summer 2016 edition of Executive Edge. I am excited to announce several changes that are designed to improve your access to, and dissemination of information featured in Executive Edge. First of all, we are now including a link to additional information and supplementary reading/reference resources for each of the three research studies featured.

Going forward, you will be able to browse by topic or search for information by keyword on any study we have featured (from 2016 onwards) via the Research Briefs section of the DCP website. Finally, we  have also refreshed the layout to make this email mobile friendly, since more than half of our readers are now accessing this email on a mobile device.       

In this special edition of Executive Edge, our focus is on Women in Leadership, a subject that is near and dear to me. Three new studies explore women's representation and experience at the Boardroom, CEO and general leadership levels. While much is known and continues to be revealed in our understanding of women in leadership, these studies demonstrate that we need to learn much more and I'm encouraged that new research is taking place to this end. 

We hope our selections are informative and thought-provoking, as well as providing you with ideas, tools and resources to facilitate your success as a leader as well as aid in the development of others. Do let me know if you'd like to know more about any of our featured studies and be sure to check out the additional resources on each topic by following the read more links below. 
Margaret D'Onofrio
Principal / Executive Coach
DCP leadership

Leading at the top: Understanding women's challenges above the glass ceiling 
Glass, C., & Cook, A. (2016). Leading at the top: Understanding women's challenges above the glass ceiling. The Leadership Quarterly, 27(1), 51-63.

In this latest study on the "glass ceiling" effect, Glass & Cook collected information on the career trajectories of 52 female Fortune 500 CEOs along with structured interviews with 12 of those CEOs. They explored the circumstances under which women are promoted to top leadership positions and the challenges they faced post appointment in an attempt to understand the factors that shape the experience of women who have risen above the glass ceiling against significant odds. They found evidence for the glass cliff and that women knowingly put themselves in these roles. Their paper considers the practical implications of the study's findings, including what organizations can do to reduce the risk and better integrate women into top leadership roles.

"While glass cliff theory posits that women are placed in these risky positions due to bias on behalf of decision makers, our respondents indicate that they exercised a great deal of agency in terms of seeking out such assignments....... To establish their credibility as effective leaders they actively sought out challenging and very risky "promotion-making" assignments."
DCP leadership

Underestimating one's leadership impact: Are women leaders more susceptible? 
Taylor, S. N., Sturm, R. E., Atwater, L. E., & Braddy, P. W. (2016). Underestimating one's leadership impact: Are women leaders more susceptible? Organizational Dynamics, 45(2), 132-138.

While 50% of supervisory and management positions are held by women, female representation drops to less than 5% when it comes to the c-suite. In this paper. the researchers argue that while women self-rate similarly to men on multi-source feedback (i.e. through their own and others feedback ratings), they under-estimate how they are seen by others. 

Through a series of studies, the researchers set out to assess whether women are less aware of their leadership capabilities than their male counterparts and whether they are failing to appreciate their talents and leadership impact. They found evidence that women under-predicted their leadership competencies relative to men. The discrepancy was particularly pronounced when women leaders were asked to predict their bosses' ratings on emotional and social competencies and transformational leadership.

The authors recommend areas for future research as well as steps for organizations and their female leaders to take. 

"...our interest and contribution here is to invite organizations to better understand what constitutes leader self-awareness and work to improve this important leader capability for all leaders."
DCP leadership

Women on boards: The superheroes of tomorrow?  Adams, R. B. (2016). Women on boards: The superheroes of tomorrow? The Leadership Quarterly, 27(3), 371-386.
In this paper, Adams questions the evidence that corporations with female directors on their boards perform better, citing what we know from studies by Catalyst, McKinsey and others. Because these studies are not held to the same rigorous research standards expected in academic settings, causal effects can and do affect results and conclusions. In particular, Adams highlights the problem of "endogeneity" where omitted variables, reverse causality and measurement error impact the results and conclusions drawn. She flags the need for better definition of "under-representation"; how to measure board diversity (E.g., should women be counted multiple times when they serve on more than one board?) and the business case for diversity (I.e., if male and females do not differ in skills, experiences and preferences, the case for diversity cannot be made).

While experiments are difficult to conduct, Adams advocates for tools and techniques that can bring more rigor to avoid correlations that imply causation in order to develop informed policy.

"While they [women] may not (always) be superheros, there is little doubt that they will influence firm and societal outcomes. To characterize this influence we need a better understanding of what women bring to the boardroom table and how diversity affects firm outcomes."
DCP leadership

How Women Can Overcome Bias
at Work by Shelley Correll

Shelley Correll discusses gender equality and stereotypes; and how stereotypes can affect our judgments. She makes the case that unconscious or implicit bias is limiting our view of leadership. She discusses tools and approaches to more effectively evaluating and blocking stereotypes that affect everyone's judgments, male and female alike.  

The Career Advice You Probably Didn't Get by Susan Colantuono 
Why are there so many women stuck in middle manager roles, even when they're doing everything right at work and taking all the right advice? In this TED talk, Susan Colantuono shares a simple and surprising piece of advice. While the talk is aimed primarily at women, there are universal takeaways in here for men, too, as well as for new graduates and mid-career workers.

To Seem Confident, Women Have to Be Seen as Warm 
In this HBR article, Mayo provides insight from research conducted by her and her colleagues. They found that " men are seen as confident if they are seen as competent, but women are seen as confident only if they come across as both competent and warm. Women must be seen as warm in order to capitalize on their competence and be seen as confident and influential at work; competent men are seen as confident and influential whether they are warm or not."
Overwhelming Majority Of New Directorships Continue To Go To Men, Women Board Seats Not On Path To Parity 

A lthough some U.S. companies are prioritizing board diversity-building it into the fabric of their key talent decision-making-they still have a long way to go before women's representation on their boards and throughout their executive ranks is near parity with men, according to new data released today from Catalyst, the global expert on accelerating progress for women through workplace inclusion.
Is Gender Diversity Profitable? Evidence from a Global Survey

T his paper addresses the relative absence of women on corporate executive boards and at the upper levels of management globally. It is based on a 2014 sample of 21,980 firms headquartered in 91 countries. Nearly 60 percent of these firms have no female board members, just over half have no female "C-suite" executives (a firm's most senior executives and members of corporate boards), and less than 5 percent have a female chief executive officer (CEO). 

D'Onofrio Consulting Partners is a Women Business Enterprise (WBE), certified by WBENC and NWBOC. 
D'Onofrio Consulting Partners