Why are women under-represented in positions of power?

By Mei Yee LooJul 30, 2015

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If you look at the boards of most multinationals, you will notice that women are in the minority though they represent the majority of university graduates (93 men to 100 women globally, according to YaleGlobal). In fact, a recent 2015 Grant Thornton International Business Report showed that women held only 1 in 5 (22%) senior management roles globally. Some hastily conclude then that women lack leadership qualities, hence their under-representation at top management.

According to Dr. Thomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a Professor at University College London, this conclusion is just flat wrong: the only advantage that men have over women is the fact that manifestations of hubris — often masked as charisma or charm — are commonly mistaken for leadership potential, and that these occur much more frequently in men than in women.

You could conclude that women just need to become more self-confident, then. Unfortunately, the same psychological features (like narcissism and psychopathy) that empower male managers to rise to the top of the corporate or political ladder are actually also responsible for their downfall. 

The questions then is how can we enable women to rise to the top and prevent male leaders from crashing once they have reached the summit? Enter the coach! The coach is not a wizard but someone who is able to build confidence within aspiring leaders and someone who can point out the pitfalls of an unchecked ego. In fact, you could argue that the best leaders are the ones who know how to coach people around them and get the best out of them. Somebody once said: “a good leader inspires others with confidence in him; a great leader inspires them with confidence in themselves.”

What kind of leader are you and what kind of leader do you really want to be?

Find out more about maximising your leadership potential here.