By Dr. Wanda Wallace
In today’s increasingly interconnected and collaborative world, managers must be able to balance give and take—combining their own good ideas and thought leadership with a listening ear. This kind of reciprocity, especially among peers, is vital to being both influential and also rewarding to work with. In our research with large samples of executives from around the world, peer ratings on this balance are one of the strongest predictors of how highly regarded a senior leader is by the rest of the organization.
We also find in our research that this is one of the few areas where women and men differ: Women executives are more often seen as outspoken and assertive in making their point but they also are more often seen as crossing the line and coming on too strong (see “Changing the Narrative on Why Women Aren’t Reaching the CLIFF! Feedback Women Leaders Need — but Aren’t Getting Top,” Talent Quarterly, volume 1, issue 3, 2014). Coworkers, especially male peers, report that women executives tend to be more defensive and harder to influence.