Picture a Leader. Is She a Woman?
This series of images emerged from a simple prompt: “Draw an effective leader.”
Tina Kiefer, a professor of organizational behavior at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, fell upon the exercise accidentally, while leading a workshop full of executives who did not speak much English. Since then it has been adopted by organizational psychologists across the world.
蒂娜·基弗(Tina Kiefer)是英国华威大学(University of Warwick)的一位组织行为学教授，在给一些不太会说英语的高管开研讨班时，她偶然想到了这个实验。从那以后，这个实验被全世界的组织心理学家广泛采用。
In terms of gender, the results are almost always the same. Both men and women almost always draw men.
“Even when the drawings are gender neutral,” which is uncommon, Dr. Kiefer said in an email, “the majority of groups present the drawing using language that indicates male (he) rather than neutral or female.”
And yet, her clients often insisted that what they meant by “he” is actually “both.”
Several researchers in organizational psychology who have had a similar experience with this exercise decided to investigate further. How might holding unconscious assumptions about gender affect people’s abilities to recognize emerging leadership? What they found, in a study posted by the Academy of Management Journal, seems to confirm what many women have long suspected: getting noticed as a leader in the workplace is more difficult for women than for men. Even when a man and a woman were reading the same words off a script, only the man’s leadership potential was recognized.
对该实验有类似经验的几个组织心理学研究人士决定做进一步调查。无意识的性别假设可能会如何影响人们识别新生领导者的能力？在《管理学期刊》(Academy of Management Journal)发表的一个研究中，他们的发现似乎证实了许多女性长久以来的怀疑：对女性来说，在工作中被人认可为领导者比男性更困难。即使让一个男人和一个女人按着同样的稿子说话，也只有男性的领导潜能得到了认可。
The authors focused on one particular act associated with leadership: speaking up with ideas to move a team or company forward.
In one experiment, participants were asked to call into a monthly sales team meeting of a fictional insurance company, during which they would hear from either an Eric or an Erica. Later they were asked to rate the speaker on the degree to which he or she had “exhibited leadership,” “influenced the team” or “assumed a leadership role.”
The Erics who spoke up with change-oriented ideas were far more likely to be identified as leaders than Erics who simply critiqued their team’s performance. But Ericas did not receive a boost in status from sharing ideas even though they were exactly the same as the Erics’.
Life, of course, does not unfold like a scripted call. And in a second experiment, the researchers attempted to investigate the benefits of speaking up in the “wild.” The researchers asked participants in a 36-team skills competition at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point to fill out a series of questionnaires before, during and after their competition.
当然，生活不像一通有脚本的电话。在第二个实验中，研究人员试图调查在“自然”环境下发表意见的好处。研究人员要求西点美国军事学院(U.S. Military Academy)一项36队技能竞赛的参与者在竞赛前、竞赛中、竞赛后分别填写一系列问卷。
The authors acknowledged that there were limitations in studying this atypically male-dominated place, but the nature of the competition allowed them to control for athletic ability, cognitive ability and other factors.
Still, after the competition, when participants ranked who they wanted to be the team leader, only the men who had spoken up with ideas received a boost.
“It didn’t matter whether women spoke up 1) almost never, 2) rarely, 3) sometimes, 4) often, or 5) almost always,” Kyle Emich, a professor at Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics at the University of Delaware, and one of the authors, wrote in an email. “Women did not gain status for speaking up, and subsequently were less likely (much less) to be considered leaders.”
“不论女性1）几乎从来不、2）很少、3）有时、4）经常，还是5）几乎总是发表观点，都无关紧要，”研究作者之一、特拉华大学(University of Delaware)阿尔弗雷德勒纳商学院(Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics)的教授凯尔·埃米赫(Kyle Emich)在邮件中写道。“女性不会因发表意见而获得更高地位，因此被认为是领导者的可能性更低（低很多）。”
A negative response to female assertiveness — known as the “backlash effect” — has been documented in other studies on gender and leadership.
“I anticipated that we would find that effect,” said Elizabeth McClean, a professor at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management and an author of the studies. “But we didn’t.”
“我预想我们会找到这种效应，”该研究的作者、亚利桑那大学(University of Arizona)埃勒管理学院教授伊丽莎白·麦克林(Elizabeth McClean)说。“但我们没找到。”
So what’s going on here? The researchers believe that results may be related to what you saw in those drawings earlier.
“People have these prototypes in their head about what a leader looks like,” Dr. McClean said. “When we see an individual, we ask, ‘Do they fit that?’”
If they don’t — even if they are acting like a leader — it’s harder to identify them as one.
This disconnect does not require assuming that “women are less competent than men in general (e.g., intelligent, smart, organized, levelheaded),” Alice Eagly, a psychologist at Northwestern University and author of “Through the Labyrinth: The Truth about How Women Become Leaders,” wrote in an email. Recently, she has found that many people “tend to credit these qualities more to women than men.”
这种脱节并非一定要假设“女性的能力大体上不如男性（比如才智、聪明、有条理、冷静）”，西北大学(Northwestern University)心理学家、《穿过迷宫——女性如何成为领导者的真相》(Through the Labyrinth: The Truth about How Women Become Leaders)一书的作者艾丽斯·伊格利(Alice Eagly)在邮件中写道。最近，她发现，许多人“倾向于把这些特质附加在女性身上而不是男性身上”。
It’s that the capacity to “take charge,” which is strongly associated with one’s ability to lead, continues to be considered a largely male characteristic, she said.
But Erica was taking charge. Why didn’t anyone see that?
When we “process information through the lens of stereotype” our interpretation may be “consistent with stereotyped expectations rather than objective reality,” said Nilanjana Dasgupta, a professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences at University of Massachusetts at Amherst. When people are consistently exposed to leaders who fit one profile, they will be more likely to notice leaders who fit that same profile in the future. That’s how the self-reinforcing “confirmation bias” cycle works, she said. She added that she would be interested in seeing similar studies on the role of race, something these studies did not investigate.
当我们“透过刻板的印象来处理信息”时，我们的理解可能会“与刻板印象期望而非客观现实保持一致”，马萨诸塞大学安姆斯特分校( University of Massachusetts at Amherst)心理学与脑科学系教授尼兰加纳·达斯古普塔(Nilanjana Dasgupta)说。当人们看见的一直都是符合某种形象的领导者时，人们在未来就更会更能注意到符合这一形象的领导者。她说，这就是“确认偏误”循环的自我强化方式。她还补充说，如果能对种族角色进行类似研究，她会很感兴趣，这是这些研究没有调查的课题。
How can this problem be overcome? One reliable way to help people to see more women as leader-like, she has found, is to expose them to more women in actual leadership positions.