Saturday, 15 August 2009

Women prefer a man at the helm

New research from ( found that two thirds of women employees prefer a man to be the boss claiming they had more authority, were straighter-talking and better at making decisions than women equivalents.

I find this research depressing on one level but not surprising and actually, very interesting. Through my working life I have come to the conclusion that the attributes of a "boss" within a "business" typically play to male strengths and behaviour preferences. In playing this role I think women often have to change behaviour and adopt attitudes, characteristics even dress codes that are more male than female. They become "men in drag", playing a male role, and not surprisingly, not doing it as well.

Add into this equation the factor of being a working mother, and it's hardly any surprise that so many career and senior working mothers appear to default out of the conventional, "boss-oriented" culture into entrepreneurial, consultant and sole trader pursuits, often in partnership with other women.

This leads me to the conclusion that for women to flourish in the workplace, to realise their potential and achieve their career goals, the perceived roles and the behaviours of "bosses" may need to change. In fact, the very concept of a boss may need to be revised - and thus, of how businesses are structured and managed.


1 comment:

  1. I agree that I find this research depressing. Too many times, I have seen women refuse to mentor or help other women thinking, I got here on my own, you can do it too.

    Women need to help other women (and men) be successful in the workplace. This is what true leadership or "being the boss" is all about. It is about recognising talent and nurturing it for success.

    Authentic leaders understand this concept.