Working for a Woman - Part 2
Updated: Dec 11, 2020
Employees share their viewpoints of working for a woman vs. working for a man.
Words from an employee.
What is the definition of a leader? A person who leads or commands a group or organization. There are qualities that a successful leader should have. A successful leader should always be honest with their followers or staff to build their business relationship as well as personal relationship on trust. I believe that both male and female leaders have this quality equally. I have had the experience of working with both male and female leaders and truly believe that both have great qualities when it comes to honesty, integrity and trust. A good leader must have exemplary character. You must also show appreciation, that you value your staff and their time. I can truly say that working for Carrie I feel appreciated and valued, where at previous companies I have not felt this way. Multitasking is a strong quality for a successful leader. When you run a business, manage a small store, or even just your own online shopping store you must know how to prioritize your time efficiently and multitask properly. Everything can be accomplished if you have the right skills in place to manage time effectively. A good leader must also be enthusiastic and genuine about their work or cause. I’ve noticed that I respond more openly to a leader with passion, dedication and empathy. Leaders are the source of inspiration and motivation. A good leader must lead by example, show their team how to do something rather than telling them how to do something and have patience with their staff. A leader’s responsibilities may be different, but they must show their staff they are part of the team and everyone is working for the same goal. They must understand that all people make mistakes, it’s how you overcome those mistakes that make you a strong individual. A good leader is also confident. If you are confident about a change or policy, your staff with feel equally as confident and trust your decisions. They also strive for excellence and strive to be the best yet understand and admit to when they make mistakes. They can come to a solution that they feel confident with and that their staff will feel confident with.
I am not sure that there is a main difference in working for a female leader versus working for a male leader. I have noticed that I personally feel a higher level of motivation working for a female leader, than I have in the past working for male leaders. Personally, working for Carrie has shown me that it is possible to be a great mother and friend, while also running a successful business. It truly shows that what you set your mind to, you can achieve. All leaders have unique qualities that set them out from the rest.
Words from an employee.
Growing up, my mother owned her own business. For her, the business was 24/7. I remember we had a separate phone in the house that was connected to the store line so she could take calls anytime. This was in the 1970’s-80’s, long before cell phones! When I was a teen, I would work in her store after school doing inventory, restocking, book-keeping, banking, etc. There were other employees, but they were all women. It was a female oriented business. My mother was a very demanding boss. She had no problem voicing her expectations. But she was fair. And, her employees always got paid before she did! I think that because of my experience of working for a woman at such an early age, it never really mattered to me whether my boss was a man or a woman. My only issue was whether they did a good job. Since then, I have had more jobs with more companies than I can count. Most bosses that I have had, were men. However, in many instances, there were women who were further up the corporate ladder than me. And, I was able to see how they interacted with their subordinates.
It’s difficult for me to identify a “difference” between men and women as bosses. Everyone is an individual with unique talents and weaknesses. If I had to pick one difference, I would say that women (in general) are more willing to listen to colleagues and subordinates, than men. Women tend to build consensus with their employees before making a big decision. On the flip side, men tend to gather information and make their decisions autonomously. Everyone else just follows.
Words from an employee.
I have had the fortune of working for both males and females throughout my career, and through my experience I have learned one very valuable lesson that is so simple it is often overlooked: a successful person does not distinguish between the two sexes in the work place. What I mean by that is both a female boss and male boss naturally have strengths and weaknesses.
However, the women I have been lucky enough to work for displayed the same characteristics: strength, professionalism and the astute ability to separate their personal relationships from their professional relationships. I think a lot of people assume that when women work for a female boss, it is all about sisterhood and bonding outside the office. Not one time in my career have I ever engaged in activities aside from work with a female boss. It was neither expected nor encouraged. However, whenever I have worked for a man social activity outside of work were the norm among staff. I think that the difference is that women tend to think ahead about consequences more than men do and a female boss in particular feels extra pressure to keep a clear distinction between business and pleasure, to avoid the perception that she is weak or emotionally reactive to her staff.
Carrie has a natural way of being able to maintain a professional distance between herself and staff, while simultaneously making each person feel that they are part of a family at work. She fosters an environment where each person has their own role in this work family dynamic and each person’s unique personality shines through for the betterment of the company. While you won’t find Carrie going out to lunch with the team or showing up at your baby shower, she is always there for her staff and there is never any doubt that the success of the company and staff are always the primary goal and motivation for everything she does. Carrie’s ability to walk this line engenders respect among her staff and curbs a lot of the petty dramas and jealousies that occur in other offices.
The “good ole boys” model of succeeding in business is not only not replicated to the advantage of women under a female boss but eliminated. In my opinion and through my own experience I find working for a female boss a more level playing field, where hard work and dedication is noticed and appreciated more than where someone stands on the social ladder outside the office.
“My definition of the good traits of a leader are: intelligent, fair-minded, ambitious, confident and decisive.”
Words from an employee.
Before comparing leaders by gender, I think it is a good idea to outline what my definition of the good traits of a leader are which generate my respect of their styles: intelligent, fair-minded, ambitious, confident and decisive.
There are also negative traits of successful leaders that I feel that while successful impacts their ability to lead: ruthless, self-centered and manipulative.
Now that I have outlined my definitions let me differentiate between male and female leaders. In my 30 years I have worked closely with male and female leaders from Fortune 500 CEOs to Presidents and CEOs of small private companies and I have seen both genders display all these traits, both good and bad. I have also seen it evolve over time as the “glass ceiling” has been shattered. In the 90s, I saw men hold down strong women by referring to them in diminutive terms like ‘dear’, ‘honey’ or trying to seduce them instead of recognizing their potential. Consequently, the women who were rising to the top had to show more negative traits so they could not only be as powerful as men, but even more so to bridge the bias.
In the late 90s there was a new awareness on discrimination and major companies were holding seminars for their executives on avoiding harassment and discrimination of women. In my opinion, this has allowed women in the 21st century to show their natural ability to lead and to show less of the “Iron Maiden” approach and more of a powerful leader with the good traits outweighing the negative traits.
Today I find that male and female leaders are on an even ground and consequently there are great and bad examples of both sexes. Over the years I have been fortunate to work for some great women and great men over my career and have respect and admiration of both genders who are willing and have the ambition to be leaders.
Words from the High Heel Boss.
Becoming a leader is not for everyone. Becoming a good person is. If you are a leader, do not take your authority to mean anything but that people are entrusting you to make decisions that effect the greater good and that should not be taken lightly.