A new study of female business success has inspired controversy around the world with its conclusion that women with a “cheerful” and friendly temperament face less chance of advancement at work. Big majorities of the business executives surveyed believed that female employees who struck their colleagues as “proud” would fare better than those who seemed “cheerful.”
Press coverage on the research often ignored the fact that the respondents also assumed males would suffer from an excess of cheerfulness – perhaps reflecting the study’s German origins. German culture is many things, but no one’s ever described Deutsche Kultur as sunny and care-free. In the United States, however, optimism seems to be part of our DNA and it’s hard to believe that a cheerful, confident disposition would ever prove a detriment to either females or males.