Are women better bosses?
Think your woman boss is wicked? May be, she really isn't. You'll understand her better if you see what she goes through to prove her worth in a man's world
PHOTOS: GRN SOMASHEKAR & AP
THE MANY ADVANTAGES Women bosses have been described as more humane, compassionate, and efficient than their male counterparts. (From left): Sudha Murthy, Kiran Mazumdar-Shah, Indra Nooyi, Chanda Kochhar
A kshaya quit her plum IT job — and this was no job-hopping for a greener pasture. “It's my boss,” Akshaya announces. “She's catty, insecure, jealous, and won't give me credit for good work.” Dad points out pragmatically: “There are going to be more of them.”
Mom consoles: “You'll find another job.” Are you dismissing Akshaya's as a one-off personal experience? Listen to what Anita, who's into Corporate Communications, says. “In my first job, the boss would take out all her frustrations on me. She never allowed personal calls or time away from work. The second, an elderly one, would overload me saying: ‘You're single, what do you do during weekends, anyway?'”
Hey, a male boss could be the same! “May be,” she says, “but they don't nitpick. If I wanted leave, the male boss says: ‘When are you joining?'; the woman boss wants to know what it's for, why my family can't manage without me. Pretty irritating, I'd say.”
Women today run their own businesses; but surveys show women don't really make well-respected bosses. Daily Mail, quoting a www.ukjjobs.net survey, reports that women feel women bosses are a nightmare to work with. In an informal survey, nearly 45 per cent said they preferred a male boss, 37 per cent had no preference, and 18 per cent favoured women.
Voting for men
Women voting for male bosses are clear in their views — men gossip less, tend to judge fairly, and focus on performance.
No micro-managing, unless, of course, they're total control freaks. And, women bosses? “They are hyper-sensitive to negative comments about them, and will get even at once,” carps Nita, a systems architect. “They can be vindictive.” Sumana agrees. “Women are more detail-oriented, men prefer to look at the big picture.” Women take too much on, and get crabby. “Of course, men can overdo it too,” says Nita, “and get out of touch with what's going on. Point is, people hate being micro-managed, and men seem to be laid-back in this.”
But then, is it possible that women bosses are being judged unfairly? “My life as a boss among a group of men has been frustrating,” says an HR executive, requesting anonymity. “Men bosses, without doubt, are more respected — experience and proven success don't matter. Men get that shoulder pat easily, while women have to work twice as hard for recognition. Women often have vast responsibilities with little or no authority. In meetings, women's suggestions are put down, while men are applauded for their contributions.”
See things from her perspective before passing judgment, she says.
“Men can be intimidating too,” says Uma, employed for several decades. “They insult you in front of others. And, not all women bosses nag. This is not about gender. It's about capability.” Women bosses have been described as “more humane, compassionate, less egoistic, efficient, and as being fair on promotions”, she says. Pankaj Rai, a techie says: “No gender preferences; I'd like an understanding boss.”
Sadly, the ‘bad boss' tag is visible. Is it because women have to work harder to get through glass doors, and this colours their ability to lead well?
Do women feel they'll never be perceived as authoritative?
The workplace can be brutal, but do we find the right strategies? Can we shake off the women-can't-handle-competition-without-getting-emotional label?
Why the prejudice?
“All of us have strengths and weaknesses, but women are nastier to women bosses than male bosses,” says the HR executive.
The point is, we, more than men, should know how best to make younger ones collaborative employees.
As Ana Budeanu says: “If we don't have faith as women that women can be good bosses, why would we think someone else should give us the opportunity?”
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