A new report by Glassdoor.com looks at America’s best-rated CEOs and finds that LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner and Ford Motor’s Alan Mullaly have the highest approval rating among their company’s employees. What’s interesting to note, however, is the lack of female CEOs on the list.
Only two women—Sharen Turney of Victoria’s Secret (#35) and Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer (#50)—make the cut, and neither of them ranks in the top 25. While less than 5 percent of all American Fortune 1000 CEOs are women to begin with, the paltry showing on Glassdoor’s top 50 list may well reflect a bias toward male CEOs among U.S. workers, according to Forbes.
A Gallup survey last year found that workers prefer male leaders, with 35 percent of respondents saying they favor a male boss over a female boss compared with 23 percent who favor a female boss.
“Unfortunately, research suggests this shouldn’t come as a surprise,” Kari Reston, founder of Boredom to Boardroom and former Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion for Standard Chartered Bank, told Forbes, adding: “Getting more women to leadership is half the battle won. But the other half—which will prove infinitely more challenging—is getting people to change their mindsets to one where women are perceived as great leaders too.”
For women business owners, this research is particularly concerning. It suggests that workers have a bias toward working for male-led firms and could hurt their recruitment and leadership efforts.
How can women business leaders get more respect?
There’s an ongoing debate over how women can advance and become stronger leaders—fueled in part, of course, by Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In movement. A 2012 Wall Street Journal article highlights the career advice for women of General Electric’s former CEO Jack Welch and 11 female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Welch argues that women CEOs shouldn't have mentors and need to produce results to show their mettle. Other CEOs said women leaders need to be comfortable in their own skin and lead more confidently.
What’s clear, however, is that CEOs don’t always agree about what’s hold female executives back: Is it themselves, or is it societal bias?
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