It would be nice to think that once you reach a certain point in your career, gender stops being an issue, but the reality is gender is always an issue. And female bosses often get the short end of the stick. Why? Because women are always judged more harshly for exhibiting similar behavior to men.
Unfortunately that judgment starts with other women.
The other day a female friend of mine was relating a conversation she had with another female friend, along the lines of how female bosses are hard to work for. That included phrases such as ‘she needs to get some’, yes you read that correctly, this statement is used as often as people use the ‘must be that time of the month’.
Listening to this I couldn’t help but think – if empowered women such as my friends, who believe in women’s rights and equality still think this way, what hope is there for changing the mindsets of men.
It is easy to judge women as being emotional and irrational whenever it suits you.
As a female boss, I can assure you, I have never got angry or pulled up an employee simply because it is that time of the month or I needed to get some. Do I judge and approach situations with a higher emotional quotient that my male counterparts? Yes I definitely do. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily.
Not for one second will I deny that women are more emotional than men. That ‘emotional’ side of a woman is the side that enables us to empathize with our employees, understand difficult situations and try and provide them a work around.
There have been several instances where my employees have needed support and understanding in the workplace while they were going through difficult times in their personal lives, and I was able to create an environment that enabled that. I am a very demanding boss, but my ability to be an understanding boss helps balance things out and that is what has resulted in so much loyalty at my company.
The emotional side is the side that makes us want to help our employees to grow and develop and to support them. This makes us great bosses in a completely different way to things that make a man a great boss.
This is something female bosses have to learn to embrace. We don’t need to lead like men; we need to lead like women. Embrace the differences that make us women and use those qualities to become better leaders.
Female bosses are sometimes known for saying, they had to work hard and go through to get to where they are and others should do the same. That is a mindset that needs to change. Those of us who have done the work to make it to the top also need to do the work to set the tone for women that follow, to create a positive mindset towards female bosses.
All women – the bosses and the employees – need to stop feeding the cycle. Instead they need to break the cycle. Support each other’s growth, embrace what it means to be a woman, accept that that is not a bad thing and create a new generation of women that lead like women and not like men.