Copyright TIGERS Success Series

By Dianne Crampton

Leadership strengths required to lead team cultures and improve team development are different than what is required in top down, Individualistic organizations. In our book, TIGERS Among Us – Winning Business Team Cultures and Why They Thrive, we differentiate between team work environments that are based on collaboration and Individualistic work cultures that reward successful internal competitors.

Because of these differentiations, we were not surprised to read the results of Zenger Folkman’s most recent findings that women out performed men in 15 of 16 leadership competencies.  If you are not familiar with Zenger Folkman, the organization is one of the leaders in strengths-based leadership.  A summary provided with the study summarized their results rather bluntly: most things men can do, women can do better.

In analysis of more than 7,200 male and female leaders from a wide variety of industries in North America, Europe, South America and the Pacific Rim countries, Zenger Folkman found that women excelled in a majority of areas. Of the 16 competencies Zenger Folkman measures that differentiate high performers from those who are average or poor, women excel at 15 of the 16.

The data included 360 performance reviews that recorded direct report, peer and senior leader responses to the 16 categories.  These include behaviors such as being perceived as honest, problem solving, driving for results, taking initiative, communicating powerfully, inspiring and motivating, building relationships, developing others, collaboration and teamwork, and championing change.

“It is a well-known fact that women are under represented at senior levels of management. Yet the data suggests that by adding more women, the overall effectiveness of the leadership team would go up,” Zenger said. “Organizations go outside to recruit effective leaders when in many cases, they may well have internal people who could rise to fill the position that is vacant.”

However, the news isn’t all bad for men. Men excelled in technical expertise, innovation, strategic perspective and connecting their group to the outside world.

“While our data shows men excel in the technical and strategic arenas, women clearly have the advantage in the extremely important areas of people relationships and communication,” Folkman said. “They also pass by their male counterparts in driving for results, which we know is counter intuitive to many men.”

The following information was provided by Zenger Folkman on their website and a full version of their report is located at

Here is a breakdown of their findings:
The Top 16 Competencies To Leaders Exemplify Most

Takes iniative:   Women 56       Men 48

Parctices Self-development:  Women 55       Men 48

Displays High Integrity and Honesty:  Women 55       Men 48

Drives for Results:  Women 54       Men 48

Inspires and Motivates Others:  Women  54      Men  49

Builds Relationships:   Women 54      Men 49

Collaboration and Teamwork:  Women 53       Men 49

Establishes Stretch Goals:  Women 53       Men 49

Champions Change:  Women 53       Men 49

Solves Problems and Analyzes Issues:  Women 52       Men 50

Communicates Powerfully and Politically:  Women 52       Men 50

Innovates:  Women 51       Men 50

Technical or Professional Expertise:  Women 51       Men 50

Develops Strategic Perspective:  Women 49      Men 51

When it comes to retaining key talent, improving employee engagement and the success TIGERS Success Series has experienced in helping organizations with critical change using the TIGERS Team Wheel Game, women have consistently shown a superior aptitude for adapting to changing targets and launching employee empowerment initiatives.

Maybe women are hard wired to build community while men are hardwired to protect it. Maybe successful women who have made it to the boardroom have had to work harder to achieve recognition. For what ever the reason, these new findings are interesting and will impact talent retention and recuritment in the years to come.