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Tale of the sexes … and their successes

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

After switching companies, star employees often lose their luster. But star women tend to keep their shine. The question is why.

A Harvard study of equity analysts on Wall Street (ideal subjects because their performance is objectively measured, with lots of data following them when they change jobs) showed gender differences in three main areas:

  1. Women spend more time cultivating external networks. Mainly because women tend to be neglected and receive poor mentoring. Focusing outside keeps women more portable, while men tend to have more clout, get things done and move up. Women who get job offers also conduct a lot more due diligence, turning up useful intelligence on an employer’s latitude, flexibility and willingness to invest in employees’ careers.
  2. Organizations that create a female-friendly climate enjoy a competitive advantage. The work environment appears equally productive for men and women. But, if leaders who cultivate an inclusive atmosphere leave, the female-friendly atmosphere can leave with them.
  3. Women in a predominantly male industry are constantly aware of their vulnerability as employees and take steps to shield themselves. Men also are vulnerable but may be less aware of it and caught off guard.

Bottom line: Men should check on whether a company will invest in their long-term success, not go straight for the money. And both genders need to keep their antennae out.

— Adapted from “How Female Stars Succeed in New Jobs,” Martha Lagace, HBS Working Knowledge, http://hbswk.hbs.edu.

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