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A Woman's Place? In Charge


Up Front: WORKPLACE SURVEY

A WOMAN'S PLACE? IN CHARGE

WOMEN ARE BETTER BOSSES. That's the verdict from a survey of more than 9,000 managers who graded male and female superiors on 20 skills ranging from communicating to decisiveness. According to Lawrence A. Pfaff & Associates, the Kalamazoo (Mich.) consulting firm that did the study, women are rated the best in every category.

The gap is the biggest on planning, making changes, and evaluating employee performance, where females outshine males by 10 points. Ratings are like school grades, from 0 to 100. So, for example, women score 56 on planning, vs. 46 for men. The sexes come the closest on delegating authority, 55-54.

Why would women make better chiefs than men? Says Larry Pfaff, the firm's president: "Women are still brought up to be more social. Those skills pay off in the workplace."

This survey certainly seems to dispute old notions that "male" qualities make for better leaders. But other surveys indicate no real differences exist between genders. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, director of Emory University's Center for Leadership and Career Studies, says these studies show a greater gap between individuals than between sexes. He decries "creating a cartoon character of gender differences."


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