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Zenger Folkman Finds a Confidence Gap Between Men and Women Leaders

Orem, UT, March 28, 2018 --( When it comes to confidence where do men and women rank? In a study done at Cornell University, they found that men tend to overestimate their abilities and performance while women underestimate both. However, their actual performance did not differ in quality. Other studies have shown that women worry more about being disliked, appearing unattractive, outshining others, or grabbing too much attention. These findings are similar to the reports Zenger Folkman has taken from leaders: women struggle more than men with confidence early in their careers.

“Men do doubt themselves sometimes, but they don’t let their doubts stop them as often as women do,” said Joe Folkman, President of Zenger Folkman. “For example, a Hewlett Packard internal report found that men apply for a job or promotion when they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100 percent of them. What doomed them was not their actual ability, but rather their choice not to try.”

Zenger Folkman’s research shows that as women’s experience increases over time, so does their confidence. In their mid 20s women were ranked in the 32nd percentile for confidence while men were in the 49th percentile. Toward the end of their career women ranked in the 61st percetntile and men in the 57th percentile. But how many opportunities are lost in early years because of fear and lack of confidence?

To learn more how how women in the workforce increase their confidence attend Zenger Folkman’s webinar, The Impact of Women Leaders, on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. For more information on these findings, and how to incorporate them into a leadership development plan, visit

Zenger Folkman is the authority in strengths-based leadership development. Their award-winning programs employ research-based methods that improve organizations and turn good managers into extraordinary leaders.
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Zenger Folkman
BreAnne Okoren

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