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Communication essentials for female executives to develop leadership presence: Getting beyond the barriers of understating accomplishment

Anett D. Grant and Amanda Taylor

Business Horizons, 2014, vol. 57, issue 1, 73-83

Abstract: Statistics about women's presence as CEOs, directors, and board members show relative stagnation over the last few years. Many theories exist to explain this problem, but there is a paucity of specific suggestions targeted at individuals seeking to rise to the top of their organizations. In this article we propose that changing the way women talk about accomplishments can improve leadership presence and aid in promotion. We analyzed video interviews of 20 men and 20 women in leadership roles at Fortune 50 companies. Since leaders will inevitably confront this when interviewing for promotions, we chose to focus on the question: “In your career, what are the accomplishments you are most proud of?” We analyzed content, syntax, gestures, and facial expressions, and identified significant differences in the way men and women talked about accomplishment. Based upon our research, we identify six communication essentials that can help women project confidence: (1) starting strong, (2) staying succinct, (3) dimensionalizing content, (4) owning voice, (5) controlling movement, and (6) projecting warmth.

Keywords: Communication; Leadership presence; Gender; Accomplishment; Interviewing (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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DOI: 10.1016/j.bushor.2013.09.003

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