Why Women Prefer to Be Managed By Men (Part 1)

First, the good news: When the 700+ executive women surveyed for my new book were asked, “Would you rather work for a man or a woman?” over half (56%) said gender didn’t matter.

Here’s a snapshot of their responses:

“I want a SMART boss.”

“My preference depends on character rather than sex.”

“I just want a good leader.”

Now for the bad news: Of the remaining 44% who would choose their boss based on gender, 32% would select a man and only 11% would select a women. That’s a disappointing 3-to-1 margin, although many of the women at least had the decency to be conflicted, e.g.

I have always preferred to work for a man…as a feminist, I feel guilty about that.”

Maybe you’ve heard of similar studies (with similar findings) and been conflicted on this yourself. On one hand, calling out a select group of women as incompetent only perpetuates a stereotype that pulls down the rest of us. On the other, the only way we can collectively change is to fearlessly smoke out the issues.

If there are certain behaviors that appear to be holding women back, isn’t it better to bring them out in the open instead of pretending they don’t exist? After all, it’s the things we avoid, ignore, and intentionally keep hidden that eventually hurt us the most.

Problem is, the loudest and most influential voices in this debate are often the most derogatory. I mean, the media has had an absolute field day reporting on the so-called Queen Bee Syndrome, i.e. the psychological pain and suffering some women claim to endure under the stress of other women managers.

All of this begs the question: Are women really this bad or have we been SO duped by the press and researchers that we’re actually looking for the worst in ourselves? 

One thing is for sure regardless: THIS is our “collective -ick” and it doesn’t matter whether you’re  a manager or not, if you’re a women in business you will bump up against these issues – and the way you handle yourself will set the stage for how far you go in your career. 

Yes, it’s that important.

In Part Two of this post, I’ll share the top three reasons surveyed executives preferred to work for men. Until then!

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