Executive qualities differ by gender, study finds

Grace under fire is a top characteristic for both men and women, the research shows, but women get less slack on behavior and are more likely to be judged by appearance.

Women may predominate in the communications industry, but the skills executives look for in a leader differ between genders, making advancement harder for women generally.

Sorry to say, comms pros, but your communication skills alone won’t vault you into the top ranks of leadership.

These are conclusions drawn from a survey on “Executive Presence” from the Center for Talent Innovation.

Recently highlighted in AdWeek, the survey also reveals that women judge women’s appearance blunders more harshly than men do.

The survey of 4,000 professionals in large corporations looked at the broader topic of “executive presence”—the mystic gravitas that explains why the top bosses occupy corner offices. The report also revealed significant differences in expectations of men and women, particularly in communications skills.

“Women may not get feedback on what they’re not doing well, or they have less leeway not to do well,” says Karen Sumberg, executive vice president at the center.

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