Female bosses who are seen as unkind, insensitive and unaware of other people's feelings are judged as worse managers while it's not held against men with those qualities, according to a US study.
The research was conducted by Kristin Byron, assistant professor of management in the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, New York.
She wanted to see if being good at spotting emotions meant managers had more satisfied staff.
Byron tracked 44 part-time students who were working in a supervisory role as part of their course and 78 managers from four participating companies in the hospitality industry to see how good they were at spotting emotions.
She asked the staff of the managers to rate how supportive they were, how persuasive and how satisfied they were in their job by scoring various statements.
The study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, found that female managers who couldn't read unspoken emotions, such as facial expressions, posture, and tone of voice, were considered less caring and staff gave them lower ratings of satisfaction.
But she found that male bosses who were bad at spotting emotions were not subject to the same expectations.
"It seems female managers may be expected to be sensitive to others' emotions and to demonstrate this sensitivity by providing emotional support," Byron said in a statement.
"Female managers' job performance is judged on them being understanding, kind, supportive and sensitive."
Byron said this was not the basis for how staff judged the performance of male managers.
"It is far more important for male managers, and men, in general, to be seen as analytical, logical and good at reasoning than showing care and concern for others," she said.