I Am a Manager, Hear Me Roar! PsychTests.com Compares Skills and Traits of Male and Female Managers

Women come out with a strong performance on PsychTests' Management Skills and Style Assessment, showing that they can be both highly-effective and personable managers.


PsychTests.com, a pioneer in online psychological assessments has released its newest research on the traits and skills that make up top-performing managers. Women significantly outscored men on over 20 managerial competencies and traits, offering evidence that women can thrive very well in positions of authority.

Gender comparisons are always a hot topic. Who is the better driver, negotiator, or more skilled at handling money? Or today's question: Who makes a better manager? Stereotypes tend to run amuck when comparing male and female managers/bosses. Online opinions will tell you that female managers don't take charge as well as men do. Others will say that they overcompensate, take charge a little too forcefully, and become mean and vindictive. Clearly, the only conclusion one can draw from anecdotal evidence is that there is no real consensus. As one anonymous pundit so cleverly put it, "My best boss was a woman ... my worst boss was also a woman."

In their third revision of the Management Skills and Style Assessment (MANSSA), PsychTests' attempted to answer not so much who was better at managing, but rather, what made men and women's management styles different. Analyzing test results from more than 300 men and women, PsychTests' research reveals that while men outscored women in skills and traits related to the business side of management (Managerial Courage - 78 vs. 73 on a scale from 0 to 100; Nose for Opportunity - 74 vs. 71; Comfort with Risk-taking - 65 vs. 62), women scored higher on scales related to employee relations and development, including Recruitment and Hiring (72 vs. 67), Giving Praise (85 vs. 79), Rewarding Performance (77 vs. 72), and Building Effective Teams (76 vs. 72). Women were also more likely to have clear ethical standards about their behavior as a manager and the organization as a whole, and were more comfortable delegating, considering it an essential aspect of empowering employees. Female managers' excelled in the more personable side of management as well, showing stronger social skills, empathy, and insight.

"It's not so much that one gender is more skilled than the other," explains out Dr. Ilona Jerabek, president of PsychTests. "On average, male and female managers just have different approaches and strengths. Female managers seem to have a more 'nurturing' managerial approach, but the fact that they also excel in the HR aspect of management makes them well-rounded leaders. They can recruit, hire, train, and develop their staff quite competently. Excelling as a manager means that a person needs to be able to juggle multiple roles, and our data show that women are very good at this. But let's keep in mind that there are huge individual differences. In fact, on many scales where men scored higher in general, it was a woman who had the highest score in our sample, and vice versa."

Gender aside, which traits characterize good managers in general? Comparing test-takers whose performance was rated as "Good" vs. those who were only "Satisfactory," PsychTests data indicate that the former group proved to be, among other things, more adaptable (77 vs. 71), more ethical (78 vs. 71), better at resolving conflict with employees (71 vs. 64), and showed better self-control (73 vs. 66). In terms of managerial level, low level managers were outscored by mid-level and top level managers in Managerial Courage (which includes issues like confronting unproductive employees, firing, giving poor performance reviews), Charisma, Passion, Motivating, and Authoritativeness. Top level and mid-level managers also had what PsychTests' dubs "a nose for opportunity" which consists of strong business sense and the ability to find and take advantage of business opportunities.

"Companies looking for a good manager need to put aside gender stereotypes and instead take a serious look at what their organization needs," advises Dr. Jerabek. "If the goal is to empower staff and help them reach their full potential, a manager with strong mentoring and coaching skills is a good option. If company operations are in need of a complete overhaul, a manager with a more strategic approach may be a better fit during the planning stage, and one with a tough skin and better tactical skills for implementation. Hiring a manager is arguably one of the most difficult yet crucial tasks, and isn't something that should be rushed or done haphazardly."

Many studies have clearly demonstrated that the majority of people who quit their job do so for a reason that is related to managerial competencies (or lack thereof). Yet, it is a common practice to promote a well-performing employee with excellent technical skills into a managerial position without a second thought about whether the person has what it takes to lead others. "This mistake is extremely costly," explains Dr. Jerabek. "Not only have you moved a great specialist into an admin position, you have also spoiled the team dynamics, made it more likely for them to leave, and decreased productivity of the entire team. Then you have to spend time and money on recruiting replacements, dealing with conflict and doing other damage control." With an assessment of managerial skills and leadership style, companies can ensure that the person to be promoted has the skills and personality required for the position, can identify training needs, or team up the person with the right mentor.

HR managers interested in using the Management Skills and Style Assessment or other pre-employment tests can visit: http://archprofile.com/corporate/g/v/i/rel

Those who wish to assess their managerial potential can go to : http://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/2450

A summary document with basic reliability and validity information is available free of charge at : http://testyourself.psychtests.com/tests/showpdf.php?name=manssa_r3/psychtests/manssa_r3.pdf

About Psychtests AIM Inc.

Psychtests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. Psychtests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts. The company's research division, Plumeus Inc., is supported in part by Research and Development Tax Credit awarded by Industry Canada.

Ilona Jerabek, Ph.D., President
Psychtests AIM Inc.