Men Who Disregard the Glass Ceiling Pay a Steep Price

13 Jun Men Who Disregard the Glass Ceiling Pay a Steep Price

Men Who Disregard the Glass Ceiling Pay a Steep Price


The vast majority those attending my presentations on our researched-based “Cracking the Code to the Glass Ceiling” have been women, even though men are invited too.


There are numerous reasons we might assume men stay away. They may


  • Be too busy
  • Not see it as an important issue – they have real business matters to deal with
  • Leave it to the “Diversity Department” to handle those issues
  • Assume women are doing just fine as many are in management posts
  • Be concerned the presentation and research is just a masquerade for a “bitch session” or
  • See no value to the bottom line.


The truth is that the Glass Ceiling is damaging the bottom line with tremendous force.  To demonstrate, let’s review a few facts:


  1. For decades, studies have consistently shown that 50% to 75% of leaders are ineffective. (Imagine purchasing capital equipment that only worked effectively 25% to 50% of the time.  Just a silly thought, of course!)
  2. When reviewing performance, many may find these data astonishing:  women leaders are frequently rated higher on 360° feedback than their male counterparts. A Zenger Folkman survey of 7,280 leaders found: “at all levels, women are rated higher fully in 12 of the 16 leader competencies measured.”[i]
  3. A study published by MSCI Research in November, 2015 of 4,000 public companies from across the globe found that  “Companies with strong women leadership perform better. How much better? Companies that had strong female leadership generated a return on equity of 10.1 percent per year vs. 7.4 percent for those without.”[ii]


And there are many more compelling studies showing that when women are in top positions, organizations perform better financially.   Further, the first bullet showing the dismal rate of leadership effectiveness demonstrates that there is room for dramatic improvement.  Clearly, developing and promoting more women can help improve leadership effectiveness overall.


Our Glass Ceiling presentation and research study reveals the real reason this negative obstacle for women stays firmly in place.  And, surprisingly, the key cause is not what most men or women think.  It is not because of the “D” word (discrimination.)


The good news is that the Glass Ceiling can be resolved once executives and leaders understand the root cause because the solution is not difficult.  The only difficulty I see is getting serious interest and commitment from senior executives.  For now, most continue to let their “Diversity Department” handle this issue – so that they can continue to the look the other way.

[i] Zenger Folkman Inc. and HBR Blog Network, March 16, 2012

[ii] MSCI Research Group, November, 2015