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Women Poised to Effectively Lead in Matrix Work Environments

Women Poised to Effectively Lead in Matrix Work Environments, Hay Group Research Finds

Overall, Competencies Required to Successfully Lead Matrix Teams are in Short Supply

28 March 2012, Auckland – Top-ranking women demonstrate a higher proficiency than their male counterparts in a number of the key skills required to lead in a matrix work environment, according to new emotional and social intelligence research from Hay Group, the global management consultancy.

In a series of in-depth interviews with dozens of executives and managers with experience leading matrix teams, Hay Group determined that leadership traits like empathy, conflict-management, self-awareness and influence were consistently tied to successful business outcomes within matrixed organisations. A subsequent review of data from Hay Group’s Emotional and Social Competency Inventory—a behavioural database that includes information on the emotional intelligence of more than 17,000 individuals worldwide—found these skills to be more prevalent in executive-level women in general management roles, as compared to their male peers:

Empathy was found to be a strength for 33 per cent of women, compared to just 15 per cent of men.
Conflict management was seen as a strength in 51 per cent of women, as opposed to 29 per cent of men.
Influence was cited as a strength for 32 per cent of women, compared to 21 per cent of men.
Self-awareness was strongly evident in 19 per cent of women, but just four per cent of men.

“Hay Group research has found that high levels of emotional intelligence are critical in matrix work environments, where individuals are required to lead by influence, rather than lead through direct authority,” said Gill Hopkins, Head of for leadership and talent at Hay Group New Zealand.

“Women often face barriers throughout their careers that require them to develop these skills to excel and advance in their organisations, in effect better preparing them for the challenges and complexities of leading in a matrix.”

Among women and men below the executive level, gender disparities were less pronounced. However, the competencies required to effectively lead in a matrix environment proved to be scarce across Hay Group’s database:

• Fewer than one quarter (22 per cent) demonstrated a strong sense of empathy.
• Less than one third (31 per cent) of individuals were found to hold strong conflict-management skills.
• Only 20 per cent were found to have a strong sense of influence.
• Just nine per cent of employees exhibit a strong sense of self-awareness.

“In traditional, hierarchical organisations, skills associated with individual achievement are required to lead, so it is no surprise that many of today’s leaders still need to develop and hone their more collaborative traits,” said Gill Hopkins. “As organisations become more global and the matrix environment becomes more common, their success will hinge on their leaders’ ability to leverage collaborative approaches. Organisations can help managers develop these skills by assisting them in understanding their own leadership styles, seeing how they mesh with the requirements of matrix leadership, and adapting them to achieve successful business outcomes within the matrix environment.”

For more information on Hay Group’s Mastering the Matrix Leadership Program or Emotional and Social Competency Inventory, or to interview Gill Hopkins, please see contact info below.

About Hay Group’s Mastering the Matrix Leadership Program
For more than 60 years, Hay Group has helped leaders in thousands of organizations around the world become more effective. Recently, through a series of interviews with dozens of managers with experience leading matrix teams, Hay Group examined the specific qualities demonstrated by successful matrix leaders, and identified actions, behaviours and organisational conditions that led to successful business outcomes, as well as those that were not productive. That research is at the heart of Hay Group’s Mastering the Matrix Leadership programs.
To find out more about the leadership skills critical to leading within a matrix, please visit:\ww\MasteringMatrixLeadership.

About Hay Group’s Emotional and Social Competency Inventory
In partnership with emotional intelligence pioneers Daniel Goleman and Dr. Richard Boyatzis, Hay Group developed the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI), a unique online survey tool designed to help organisations assess and develop emotional and social intelligence in their leaders and key individual contributors consistently and at an affordable cost. The ESCI measures the demonstration of individuals’ behaviors, through their perceptions and those of their raters, making it distinct from measures of emotional intelligence that assess ability or personality preferences.

Hay Group’s ESCI is available directly for use by HR professionals and line managers, or with consulting support. Hay Group’s latest analysis of its ESCI database includes a review of 360° surveys with more than 17,000 organisational leaders worldwide. Hay Group’s analysis of the competencies prevalent among executives includes a look at 179 female executives and 700 male executives in general management roles.

To find out more about Hay Group’s ESCI, please visit:

About Hay Group
Hay Group is a global consulting firm that works with leaders to transform strategy into reality. We develop talent, organise people to be more effective, and motivate them to perform at their best. With 85 offices in 49 countries, we work with over 7,000 clients across the world. Our clients are from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors, across every major industry and represent diverse business challenges. Our focus is on making change happen and helping people and organisations realise their potential.


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