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Women managers: the evolution

25 August, 2014

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Date of Publication: 25 August, 2014
Women and men are created equal, yet they are not the same. And this is even truer when it comes to the different management skills the two genders have.

There are a number of factors contributing to one’s style of leadership, and gender is part of this set as it still influences, for instance, the upbringing of the child, his or her experiences and how he or she is moulded by different rules.

MULTITASKING: A BIOLOGY FACTOR.

The stereotype that depicts women as multitasked has evidence in the female brain structure. Women have a larger corpus callosum - the group of nerve fibres that connects left and right hemispheres - so that they are faster at transferring data between the computational, verbal brain left half and the intuitive, visual right half, while men tend to be confined to their left half.

Moreover, the school system in general is much more suited for left-brained, therefore furthermore enforcing the natural structure of male brains and helping women developing their “ubiquitous” skills.

LEADERSHIP STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES.

Women tend to be better than men at empowering staff, encouraging openness and being more accessible, defining job expectations and providing more feedbacks. They're more skilled at managing diversity. They are better at identifying problems more quickly and more accurately.

On the other hand, men tends to be more confident and are faster decision-makers. Relationship-wise they tend to create liquid teams with short-term goals to achieve. They don’t get stuck in the interpersonal relations as much as women do. In fact, when an employee is underperforming, women bosses tend to avoid negative confrontation and are much more stressed by the situation: they tend to worry for the person, for his family depending on the pay check and try to make up for him, often forcing the team to make up for the hole.

Women also tend to be more afraid of mistakes, as they feel they can be appointed to their gender. “She screwed up because she’s a woman” is the most dreaded feedback. And if you think hard of any place you have work in, you have to reckon that this is the negative feedback women have to put up with. At least, most likely.

The bright side is that this fear is going to fade: the society is changing and these changes are bound to produce a whole new set of feedback, even the stereotyped ones.

Truth to be told, today’s workplaces tend to be less engaging and rewarding in terms of money and quality of the job to be performed. People often find themselves juggling among different tasks, regardless of their own competence and skills. This is where the female leadership traits can play a huge role to retain people and make them feel committed to the company and to the job, regardless the situation.

By communicating goals more readily and expressing appreciation more often, women tend to be better at making staffers feel recognized. That translates into cost-effective staffing and recruiting.

Bottom-line: women leadership is still something in the making. Not so long ago we had women leaders mimicking the men, with cold, distant, mystified Iron ladies. Now we are witnessing the creation of a more specific type of leadership with a set of benefits every employer should take into account.

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