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Most top female execs have something in common: They played sports

June 18, 2013|By Adolfo Flores
  • Team Unicorn and the D'Viants compete in the Sydney Roller Derby League in Australia. A new workplace survey found that about 67% of women who hold a top corporate level position participated in sports as a working adult.
Team Unicorn and the D'Viants compete in the Sydney Roller Derby League… (Brendon Thorne / Getty Images )

Playing sports can play a role in developing leadership skills for female executives, a survey from Ernst & Young found.

A report summarizing the surveys results, released Tuesday, found that 55% of women in executive and top management roles played sports at a university level, compared with 39% of other female managers.

The inquiry of 821 senior managers and executives at companies with annual revenues in excess of $250 million, found that almost three-quarters of women said people who engage in sports at some level or have done so work more effectively in teams than those who haven’t.

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The report “validates and underscores the fundamental role that participation in sports plays in developing women leaders,” said Beth Brooke, global vice chair of public policy, for Ernst & Young.

“Not only do the majority of senior women executives have sports in their background, they recognize that the behaviors and techniques learned through sports are critical to motivating teams and improving performance in a corporate environment.”

About 67% of women who hold a top corporate level position participated in sports as a working adult, compared with 55% of other female supervisors.

Of the women surveyed 90% said teams are the best way to address increasingly complex business problems, while 82% believe improving their organization’s ability to develop and manage teams will be essential for future competitiveness.

Still, more than half of female respondents, 55%, think it’s more difficult to motivate teams than individual employees.

The report is the first in a series of studies commission by Ernst & Young that looks at the connection between women’s advancement in sports and business success.

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adolfo.flores@latimes.com

Follow Adolfo Flores on Twitter.

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