Improving gender equality in senior management positions could help organisations achieve a better, more balanced leadership, it has been claimed.

According to a study by HR consultant Talent Innovations, male and female employees tend to possess different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to their managerial expertise.

Based on analysing feedback from 14,000 employees in senior positions in the UK, the organisation was able to identify how men and women rated against a set of 18 leadership competencies.

It found that women score higher than men in the competencies of planning and managing activities, respect and empathy for others and personal responsibility, reports HR Magazine.

However, men score higher in competencies such as strategic vision, commercial focus and personal impact.

“Women tend to be stronger in the interpersonal aspects of leadership and in the competencies of planning and organising,” said Elva Ainsworth, managing director of Talent Innovations. “This implies that women may make better project managers.

“Men tend to be stronger in the behaviours that help an individual to progress their career. They’re also seen as stronger in strategic thinking.”

Ms Ainsworth believes the study could have implications for the way organisations train their management staff to provide them with better leadership skills, as well as highlighting the importance of having a balance between male and female employees in senior positions.

“On one hand, this study highlights the general areas in which men and women need leadership development,” she said. “However, on the other, it suggests that the natural styles of men and women are complementary.

“By creating a balance of both types of leadership, through Board-level diversity, organisations can bring about peak performance.”

The study also revealed that the sexes differ in their assessments of their colleagues, with women inclined to be more generous in the way they judge their fellow workers than men.