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Do Women Make Better Bosses? 403

Posted by Soulskill
from the technically-they-make-all-of-them dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "David Mielach reports on a new study which finds that women in management positions lead in a more democratic way, allowing employees to participate in decision-making and establishing interpersonal channels of communication. 'In line with known gender differences in individual leadership, we find that in workplaces with more women managers, more individualized employee feedback is carried out,' says study author Eduardo Melero. 'Likewise, we can see evidence, although weaker, that in these workplaces decisions are made more democratically and more interpersonal channels of communications are established.' The research was based on data from the Workplace Employment Relationships Survey, a survey of workplaces in the United Kingdom. Melero analyzed this data by looking at the number of women in management positions in companies and the leadership tactics employed at those companies. He found increased communication between management and employees in companies with women in management positions led to more well-informed decisions, since employee feedback will be utilized in the decision-making process. Still, correlation does not equal causation. 'One might question the direction of the relation: is it women managers who are the behind these policies, or is it that more progressive organizations are more accessible for women leaders than other workplaces (PDF)?'"
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Do Women Make Better Bosses?

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  • by BagOBones (574735) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:40AM (#39451887)

    I have seen examples of both male and female boss fail... I don't see much difference, I think they are equal.

    • I agree with you there, but females tend to a little less of a pain and more willing to talk things over with the person, less of do this or your fired. I have talked my way of of doing something stupid with a female boss but never a male boss.
      • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:04AM (#39452299) Journal

        I've noticed woman bosses tend to take things more personally and are quicker to pick favorites. Male bosses tend to be more "we'll do it this way!".

        • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:34AM (#39452751) Homepage

          Agreed -sorta. The female bosses are more likely to hold a grudge, more likely to mistreat people on how much they "like" them and not actual performance, and show favorites. The direct, no-nonsense, to-the-point technical person does not work well with these people as their bosses.

          The male bosses are more likely to be demanding and imperial, but they're also a lot more concise and to the point as to what they want. They'll take you standing toe/toe, but you better be able and willing to hold your own. Submissive, non-assertive types are seen as under-performers regardless of what they actually do.

          However, I've had a boss with a hormonal imbalance. He was growing tits involuntarily, and horribly moody. He behaved more like a woman (and a very poor boss at that).

          Granted, I should note that I've never actually had a good boss (but I hear they really do exist). But I guess that's probably par for the course.

      • by dskzero (960168) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:07AM (#39452369) Homepage
        Actually, in my experience, i've found the other way is more often the less painful.But it depends on the personality, not in the sex of the boss.
        • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Friday March 23, 2012 @12:04PM (#39453139)

          But it depends on the personality, not in the sex of the boss.

          This.

          The huge fail with any study that tries to measure whether X large group is "better" than Y large group is that there is, almost invariably, more variation within a group than between groups. The 60th percentile male boss will be a significantly better boss than the 40th percentile female boss even if (for sake of argument) the 50th percentile female boss is slightly better than the 50th percentile male boss.

          On top of that, when the groups are identified by politically-charged categories like race, gender, sexual orientation, etc., the politics dictates the science. The only hypotheses that get tested are the ones that are expected to return the desired results. No one funds a study to determine whether male bosses are better in situations where tenacity or dedication is advantageous, because the outcome has the potential to be politically unacceptable. Authors of a study that finds white/heterosexual/male groups to have an advantage over minority/homosexual/female groups will be branded bigots and frequently fired, and people know that ahead of time, so they have a huge incentive to fudge the numbers in any case where that looks like it might end up as a conclusion.

          This is very much not to say that white, heterosexual and male groups are, on net, superior to their counterparts, but rather that attempting to measure the difference is both useless and futile. The politics corrupts the science to the point that conclusions become meaningless, and in any event, what do you even expect to do with the data? Is making staffing decisions on the basis of someone's gender really something we want to promote? Really?

      • I agree with you there, but females tend to a little less of a pain and more willing to talk things over with the person, less of do this or your fired. I have talked my way of of doing something stupid with a female boss but never a male boss.

        That may be the rule...maybe but, I've seen a few exceptions. At my last job, I had a few female bosses over the coarse of 8 years. Some were just as you described. One was just the opposite...queen b*tch and she was totally above talking things through with her pears or underlings. She was also prone to not accept responsibility for her negative actions.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:05AM (#39452329)

      Men and women are different, and generally manage in different ways, but saying is one better than the other is silly. Depends on the job, the situation, and who they are managing; and really, I think the individual makes all the difference.

      Do women generally manage in a more democratic way? Maybe. But that doesn't mean better. Democracy sounds an awful like committee and nothing gets done. You need a boss that accepts input but also can make the tough decisions when they have to. If you tend one way, then you need to force yourself to do the other too.

      I've had great and terrible bosses of both genders. My favorite boss was a woman (she knew her stuff and was great at keeping on top of things while not micromanaging, and she was awesome at managing the annoying things like really getting clients to figure out what they want before I programmed it), and a woman was also my very worst boss (micromanaged and criticized everything everyone did and caused at least one woman in the office to break down in tears about once a week and I hated every single minute of dealing with her).

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      I have seen examples of both male and female boss fail... I don't see much difference, I think they are equal.

      In my exprience it comes down to the individual - I've had good and bad of either gender. Reasons for being bad generall come down to - What are they here for? If they are planning to stick around they tend to be pretty good. If they are trying to claw their way up the ladder you better watch out.

    • by jellomizer (103300) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:16AM (#39452489)
      In general I have seen it is more common for female bosses to be overly aggressive over male bosses. If you are going to get yelled at it will be from a female boss. When there is a big problem the female boss will get more emotional. The Male bosses tend to keep cool and handle problems more rationally. However female bosses when things are not stressful will be more democratic and listen to problems and make a more open minded decision.

      In Summy with over generalization.
      When things are going good, a female boss will keep things going good.
      When things are going bad, a male boss will make things better.
       
    • by JWSmythe (446288)

      You're absolutely right. I hate seeing this kind of sexist statement. Saying that a white person, or a straight person could fulfill the same role better would be taken very poorly.

      I've worked for and with men, women, people of various ethnic origins, and sexualities. Some are good. Some are bad. My sample set is far from representative of humanity as a whole. If anyone else believes their sample set is better than mine, you've had way too many jobs.

      T

  • by dtmos (447842) * on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:40AM (#39451893)

    In my career, I've had good male managers and good female managers. The difference is that, while I've had several male managers that were priggish martinets, I've not had a female manager with similar qualities.

    Anecdotal experience is not law, of course, and I could have been the beneficiary of just not having a large enough sample size of female managers, but that's been my experience.

    • by mellon (7048) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:50AM (#39452077) Homepage

      I've also worked under quite a few female and male managers. I've had good and bad experiences with both. I am deeply skeptical that sex is the major variable. It may well be true that men are more likely to be authoritarian, but that hasn't been my experience. I could theorize from anecdotal evidence that women have various common qualities, but I suspect that other male managers I haven't happened to work for have had those same qualities.

      I think the major variable is competence. Competence is a hard thing to achieve for managers, because they get a lot of really bad training, or in many cases no training. In the set of all managers who are poorly trained, it's probably true that for reasons which may be cultural or may be innate, there are measurable differences between the problems women have and the problems men have. But I think it's equally likely that among managers who are competent, these differences lose their significance. I think that organizations looking to have better management would be well advised to focus on competence rather than on sex.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        Managers tend to either be people who were good at their jobs so got promoted into a position they were not good at, or people who are career managers and don't know enough about what the grunts actually do to be effective. There are some good bosses of course, but more accidentally than by design I think.

        • by mellon (7048)

          This isn't true--there are managers who are good by design. They just aren't all that common, because it's rare for a company to reward people for that.

        • by Envy Life (993972) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:48AM (#39452957)

          I have not found promotions into management to happen among the most competent. Companies lean toward keeping good employees in their position, and those with less competence get moved around, many times into management positions. In my experience I've come to believe that management is very difficult because most people don't get it. Out of all the companies I've worked for and all the management I've worked under or with, I'd say less than 10% are competent, and and the best was female.

          Why was she best? Because she was good at organizing, good at following up on performance reviews, good at letting her team do what they were best at, and good at making decisions because her communication with her team allowed her a good pulse of what was going on. A large portion of male managers I've worked with want to be too hands on, and shirk some of the most basic organization and coordination that is needed to run a team. Lets face it, the bulk of a manager's responsibilities are secretarial tasks -- calendaring, organizing, scheduling, basically keeping their team on task. Some people get that, some people don't.

          It is ideal to have a manager who was competent in a skills position at one point in their career, and work their way up as does a manager of a loading dock, but it isn't a requirement. For example in contrast to most other countries, many Chinese government officials have engineering backgrounds, and they "get" technology, and thus they seem to make much more intelligent decisions for their countries in many areas, e.g. manufacturing. In contrast, U.S. politicians are all lawyers, who are adept only at diverting and twisting issues for their own agenda rather than a pure sense of "good" and "not as good".

          So background is important, but based on the high failure rate of managers I've seen in my decades of work experience, I'd just like someone who is a competent organizer and decision maker. Asking for someone who is good at that and who truly understands the jobs and skills of those underneath them is nearly impossible to find. That is largely because managers are hired by "Directors"--career management straight out of school, who don't have a clue how the world works above or below them... and Executives are skilled at sales. No one really gets it, and thus my opinion of corporate organization is very poor, so the most competent skilled workers have no desire to get "promoted" into a position largely occupied by incompetents.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:06AM (#39452337)

        The problem is that 'managers' are generally identified from the outset as 'management track' before they are given the opportunity to become competent. They are then shoved into a role too soon (you generally need at least two years of work to become competent at most any job) because someone above them wants to have less 1:1s and attend other work-less meetings instead.

        Management is a ridiculous thing to have in general. There should never be any reason why a manager (and I'm a manager) should have less than 15 people under them. Why? Because managers don't do any real work. So why have 4 managers who make more money and do nothing and create more work for those under them?

      • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:14AM (#39452455) Homepage Journal
        If you're looking for a confounding variable to help flesh out your model, I might propose determination; i.e. women in business push themselves harder to succeed because they have something to prove (whether or not anyone's looking.) My undergraduate thesis supervisor was the epitome of this. I was interviewing with a woman while looking at graduate school supervisors, and remarked how skewed the gender balance seemed to be at that school in comparison with my alma mater; her response was that it was the same at all high-end universities, and she believed that women are less likely to apply for such schools because they underestimate their own abilities. Hence you see the truly exceptionally driven people; a tail of the distribution curve that isn't exactly bell-shaped.
    • by Marillion (33728)
      As a stereotype, women excel at consensus driven group dynamics. The best female managers I've had were ones who followed their instincts, steered the consensus, and made groups work. Female managers who either trained to be to tried to be more like the stereotypical alpha-male manager who orders from the top down and expects unquestioning obedience have been miserable managers. It's also been my experience that the same is true of male managers.
      • The problem with the woman who try to be like male managers is that they try to follow the stereotype that adds unpredictability. I have found woman managers will go off far more unexpected then male managers, especially when they think they have something to prove.

        Men and Women are different and more then just plumbing. Different doesn't mean better. But neither side shouldn't try to be what they aren't that is what causes problems.
    • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:56AM (#39452189)

      In my career, I've had good male managers and good female managers. The difference is that, while I've had several male managers that were priggish martinets, I've not had a female manager with similar qualities.

      The worst boss I've ever had was a woman. She was autocratic, ruled by intimidation and fear, and couldn't see outside a rigid hierarchy to save her life. She was the absolute personification of a Dilbert PHB (pointy haired boss, for you young'uns). Just about everyone hated her, and her name is still the butt of jokes at work, some eight years after she left.

      Not sure if I should mention she happened to be a lesbian...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by garcia (6573)

      Some people suck and some people are great. Sex has absolutely nothing to do with personality or ability to manage.

      • That's just political correctness blinding you I think. Fact is, as culturally women and men are still both treated very differently from a young age all the way into their careers. No, the actual sex doesn't matter - but the way that we treat those sexes does - and has - for generations.
      • Some people are great at sucking, and some people suck at being great. Sex has absolutely nothing to do with this.

        FTFY

    • by Ginger Unicorn (952287) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:36AM (#39452779)

      I've had several male managers that were priggish martinets

      so it isn't just me that had trouble when working as an 18th century footman

  • Anecdotal (Score:5, Funny)

    by chill (34294) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:40AM (#39451905) Journal

    I've done some of my best work under women. :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:42AM (#39451935)

    Because it would have been sexism.

    • by bjourne (1034822) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:53AM (#39452129) Homepage Journal
      Er no it wouldn't. There are hundreds of studies that show that women are worse than men on a wide range of tasks. Not the least, almost everything that is physically challenging. I hate this notion people have that research is somehow censored to be politically correct and that it is therefore not trustworthy.
      • I think it becomes sexism when the research in question transitions from a peer-reviewed journal to the popular press.
      • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:04AM (#39452313)

        I hate this notion people have that research is somehow censored to be politically correct and that it is therefore not trustworthy.

        As long as the research is only discussed among educated researchers, you are correct. Yet if some scientist gets on TV and says that women are somehow less able than men to perform some task, politics kicks in -- the researcher is obviously a misogynist (unless the researcher is a woman, in which case she is just misguided). It does not matter what the results say, what matters is that nobody ever publicly suggests that women are less capable.

      • I hate this notion people have that research is somehow censored

        Those ones sure don't get a lot of air time. ;)

      • by Hentes (2461350)

        Not censored, but they are sometimes attacked by groups outside of academia.

      • It's also well worth pointing out that statistics aren't real world applicable in practical situations. If we pick one random man and one random woman for a physical task, chances are that the man will be better at it. That said if the man happens to be me, and woman happen to be Venus Williams, she's probably gonna beat me in most physical tasks. The point of sexual equality is not that men and women are precisely equal in all ways statistically, but rather that they should have equal opportunity. The

    • Maybe. But one thing is for sure: Instead of all these comments that say it's not really the gender that matters you'd get a lot of comments to the effect of "hey, that's just how it is."

  • Wrong Location (Score:5, Insightful)

    by what2123 (1116571) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:42AM (#39451939)
    I must being a bad location then. I find most women in manager positions are good, but very authoritative. Which makes sense for the reason that they were able to get to that position to begin with. I'm not saying that it makes them bad in any sort of way I just don't see a female manager being any more cooperative than a male manager. In both cases it truly comes down to how that individual initially got to their position.
  • I had a woman boss who could chat-up a storm, but I wasn't getting any work done during that ~3 hours wasted per week.

    On the other hand she did get me a promotion (+$5000 more per year). I doubt my old male boss would have bothered.

    There are pros and cons.

  • by Dinghy (2233934) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:42AM (#39451949)
    Because it's pro-woman.
    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:14AM (#39452459)
      As long as the public continuously hears that women are as capable or better than men, it will weaken their preexisting notion that men are better in some fields. It makes no difference whether or not it is true, whether or not studies support a claim, or whether or not studies that present a different result are left out. The feminist goal is to change society, not to present accurate information about anything, and logic and reason are irrelevant to effecting change.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by HeckRuler (1369601)
      Oh Jesus Christ, MAN UP nancy!
      While I always understood the importance of equality, affirmative action kinda miffed me in my younger years. Then in the slump of the housing fallout I got a job over an Indian with a PHD. And in that moment all the scholarships I couldn't apply for and all the Homers and Peter Griffins didn't matter one bit to me.
      Also, looking back, at my internship there was me and a black guy. Both computer engineers. He was given a soldering iron, I was given a programming job.

      Now, n
    • by epyT-R (613989)

      I'm not sure if your +5 was targeted at explicit agreement with your statement, or acknowledgement of the implied roll-eyes.

  • The main difference (Score:5, Interesting)

    by msobkow (48369) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:45AM (#39451993) Homepage Journal

    The main difference I've found between men and women as bosses over the years is I have never had a woman try to pull a power trip, leveraging the "authority" of their position to try to force me to do something they wanted.

    Men, on the other hand, sometimes think that a title means they have power over me. How soon they learn...

    • I have seen that quality in both genders equally. Then again, 50% of my managers have been women. I expect you wouldn't see some qualities if the ratio of manager genders was disproportionate (you would see a broader spectrum of one than the other).
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      That's just a matter of experience: I've had female bosses who definitely were willing to pull the "I'm your boss and I said so" card.

      Also, I saw a woman pull the most Machiavellian move I've seen in management: She was competing against another executive for a promotion, got it (for reasons that are still a mystery to me, since she had run her division into the ground while his division was doing better than expected), and within 36 hours had fired the competitor and everyone associated with him.

      • by msobkow (48369)

        I may have been lucky, but I don't think so. Women are more prone to use subtle manipulation over brute force, at least with North American women. Some of the South American women I've met were more heavy handed, but after seeing the interactions with their spouses in their homes, I'm pretty sure that's cultural rather than innate behaviour.

        In other words, my experience has been that women will go to the effort of convincing you to do something; men are more prone to try to just order you to do it.

        I'

  • by rhyder128k (1051042) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:46AM (#39452019) Homepage

    Men do better in a role - "Men and women are equals. The men must have had an unfair advantage. Reperations will have to be made."

    Women do better a role - "Women's brains must be wired up in a way that makes them better at certain things. Or perhaps it's down to hormones or genetics."

    • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:08AM (#39452381)

      Wow. I have to say that I should be surprised at the amount of vitriol directed at women, but sadly, I'm just reminded of the stereotype of the basement-dwelling nerd.

      Just a few notes to maybe help you get out of the basement:
      #1 Feminism isn't about reparations. It's about giving women a chance to do the same things that men are doing - like run a business, smoke a cigar, and play golf in a golf club. Basically, have a chance to do something other than cook, bear children and be a secretary.
      #2 Removing glass ceilings is not the same as reparations. If you feel that way, it's merely an indication that you have no idea how large your advantage actually has been, and that you are pissed that you have to compete on a level playing field.
      #3 Women ARE better at certain things than men are. Driving consensus is one of them. Or at least, that's what science says. Feel free to piss and moan about it, but it's not going to change the fact.

      • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:27AM (#39452633)

        It's about giving women a chance to do the same things that men are doing - like run a business, smoke a cigar, and play golf in a golf club

        OK, so now that women can do all those things, what are feminists fighting for?

        you have no idea how large your advantage actually has been

        Yeah, because men like me who grew up in working class families had so many advantages in life compared to women who grew up in suburbs and had private tutors to help them get into college -- where women now make up the majority. Feminists love suburban women, because they are best able to live the feminist ideal of self-empowerment. Symbols of success are what feminists really care about -- running successful businesses, smoking cigars, and playing golf. Feminists are not interested in women who work on railroads (like my mother did), because it conflicts with their own preconceived notion about what everyone wants.

        Women ARE better at certain things than men are

        http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=BFD [urbandictionary.com]

        OK, cool, women are better at some things. Men are also better at some things, but where are the people parading those results in the media? Nobody tries to "level the playing field" when it comes to things that women are better at, unlike people who want to make fire department physical exams less challenging so that women will have a better chance:

        http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-07-20/news/ct-met-chicago-firefighter-lawsuit-20110720_1_firefighters-exam-african-american-firefighter-candidates-female-firefighters [chicagotribune.com]

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:47AM (#39452027) Homepage Journal

    The moment you judge a person by any simple facet, gender or race or anything else, you are doing them and yourself a great disservice, even when you judge them positively. Human beings are individually very complex, and no characteristic, even when supported with loads of statistical evidence about that characteristic is going to inform you properly. Judge individuals as individuals, in the context you deal with them. Anything else is a major failing on your part.

    This is not to impugn this study; statistics are useful and can be used in all sorts of intriguing ways. Just never let them stand in front of the individual qualities of a human being.

    • Stereotypes often exist for good reason. I never base a final judgement on them, but before I've had a chance to deal with someone individually, as you've said, I assume the stereotype (but it's ready to be overturned at a moment's notice). For me, the exception is racial stereotypes: I don't care much for preforming an opinion of someone based solely of their ethnicity. Except for Jews: they're always so damn good with money... Oh, and Asians: racial advantage with video games for sure.
    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      That is true. It is still true to make universal statements about what men and women are better at. It may well happen that this person doesn't fit the statistical average, and that that is reasonably common (although by definition not the majority), but it remains true that given a random person on the street you can judge them according to statistical stereotypes, and you will probably be right.

      Now, if they should prove differently and you fail to accept that, that is your problem. But the fact remains th

  • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:49AM (#39452057)

    In my engineering jobs, sex roles have always been... ahem, traditional - this is at about 8 different jobs in two Southern US states over the last 25 years. Same applied to the grocery store I worked in.

    The "women bosses" I have had the most experience with are elementary school principals... they have run the gamut from insecure totalitarian witches to the ineffective ostrich to genuine warm caring professionals who do the right thing - not much different from the men I have had as bosses.

  • Even if female bosses tend to be more democratic that doesn't mean that YOUR particular female boss is. When are we going to stop judging people by their gender, race or ethnicity and start judging them by the job they do?
  • by hiryuu (125210) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:53AM (#39452133)

    Since everyone's going to chime in with their perspective from experience, I'll add mine. I've had several managers in the course of my career, at multiple companies and on both sides of the gender fence. I've also needed different levels and styles of management at different points in my career, and have experienced both "good" and "bad" bosses along the way.

    Early on, when I was more likely to need guidance and suggestions (in learning time management and prioritization, communications skills, etc.), I found much better and more involved management from the women than the men. The women were more likely to take the time to observe and try to understand where the deficiencies were, and to advise me in a non-confrontational way about how to proceed and what to learn from the situation.

    As I grew in my abilities and my confidence, though, I was more likely to run into conflicts and differences with some of those same women managers. Communication was less direct than it needed to be, personality differences became more of an issue than they were with male managers, and occasionally, problems would escalate to a passive-aggressive undermining. Conversely, men in management seemed more likely to recognize and acknowledge my increasing competence, and when corrective communication was needed it was short, direct, and efficient.

    Don't underestimate the effect of corporate culture, though, on management styles - my opinion is that bad management is caused by culture as much as culture is an effect of bad management. I think it's very much a chicken-and-egg thing, in that regard, but there's definitely an influence at play.

    In the years since I've entered management, I've swapped back and forth between two upper managers (depending upon company re-orgs), both of whom have decided that the best way to manage me is to leave me the hell alone. My current boss has told me that, as far as he's concerned, my department is a black box - resources go in, profit comes out, it all runs seamlessly and quietly, and that's all he needs to know. :)

  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:55AM (#39452163) Homepage

    There is a bias against hiring women in leadership positions. It follows that the standards a female manager has to meet are higher than those of a male manager, and therefore the female managers who do get hired likely have above average communication and leadership qualities.

  • No.
    Being a good leader is not gender dependent.

    • Being a good leader is not gender dependent.

      It is not that simple. Men and women lead differently. Women are more likely to work to build consensus, but less likely to make big decisive changes. Is that good or bad? It depends.

      Small businesses run by women are less likely to fail. But also less likely to grow beyond a handful of employees.

  • Anecdotally speaking (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 0123456 (636235)

    Many of the women I know have complained about female bosses, in part because 'these workplaces decisions are made more democratically and more interpersonal channels of communications are established'. They want a boss who tells them what to do and gets out of the way, not one who spends half their time asking people what they should be doing.

  • Out of the dozen or so bosses I've had in life, one female was really good. The remaining female bosses ranged from mediocre with one that was incredibly, absolutely awful. About three of my male bosses were really good, with the remainder being mediocre and none being truly awful. I doubt there's a huge difference though. I think it's just my own quirky experience.

  • The former. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:02AM (#39452275)

    is it women managers who are the behind these policies, or is it that more progressive organizations are more accessible for women leaders than other workplaces

    In my experience, it's the former.
    My last boss was male, and he was very open to ideas and input.
    My boss before that was female, and she was a complete tyrant.

    You'll find people with similar stories, or opposite. It's a matter of chance.
    Gender makes no difference, it's all on the individual.

    The only difference it DOES make, is that I might be attracted to a female boss.

  • Again... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by englishknnigits (1568303) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:04AM (#39452303)
    "men and women are the same in every way except the ways that women are better." Typical femnatzi logic that would get anyone tarred and feathered were the logic reversed. I'm sure some women make great bosses just like some men do. How about we stop caring about averages and about case by case basis? If a woman is a great boss, keep her! If a woman is a terrible boss, fire her! Same goes for men.
  • by Freddybear (1805256) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:04AM (#39452307)

    First we get bad statistics about the relationship between supply and demand in the oil market, and now a bad statistics "study" of management styles?
    What's next, a sure-fire way to win the lottery?

  • by StikyPad (445176) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:06AM (#39452335) Homepage

    Anyone want to guess what the reaction would be if an article posed the question, "Do men make better bosses?" or "Do whites make better bosses?" My view of this article is no different. Sorry women.

  • There is a point where 'more democratic' can become a liability. Sure, you don't want leaders going off half-cocked without the correct information or being in tune with what their teams can realistically achieve, but I have observed the other extreme, project leadership paralyzed by indecision while trying to pursue consensus that isn't going to happen.

    I've also noted that leadership on the extreme end of listening and honoring the views of the teams unfortunately frequently fails to convey the business n

  • by Hognoxious (631665) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:09AM (#39452393) Homepage Journal

    Unless they've found a way to grow managers in tanks (which might explain a few things) don't women make all of them?

  • But everything to do with competence.

    I've seen average-to-stupid bosses all over. I've seen the rare smart one too. Some of the ones that are "fun to work with" are also some of the ones with bad business sense. Then there are the assholes who you'd rather stab yourself in the eye with an icepick before you'd ever work for them again.

    And then there are the bosses who can value employees *and* have good business sense, and their companies become icons of the industry.

    And in none of these situations, has g

  • Doctors (Score:4, Interesting)

    by evil_aaronm (671521) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:11AM (#39452411)

    Somewhat related, though it's not apples-to-apples, I more or less refuse to go to male doctors. Their "God complex" tends to be way worse: many times, they don't ask you what's wrong, or even bother listening if you try to explain. They already know.

  • In my experience the distribution of incompetence is more or less equal between the sexes.

    But if I was forced to choose between having a incompetent or overbearing boss of either gender, I would go with the male boss.

    At the risk of seeming misogynistic, I'll add that I've not had many good experiences with incompetent female bosses in the IT sector, whereas the male ones tended to give me substantially more free rein with my decisions and policies.

    (I grew up with a coder mother, and handled my first punched

  • My boss is a woman, and she's the best boss I've ever had. Why? Because she had to prove herself, and she succeeded in doing so. The odds are stacked against women in management, and those who succeed are often better because they had to be significantly better than all the male candidates in order to stand out.

    Disclaimer: This is a combination of anecdotal evidence and socio-demographic conjecture. Not all women make good bosses, and not all female bosses are good.
  • The unspoken premise is that leading more democratically is better. I don't know if that's accurate in all cases. Decision by consensus isn't always better, especially in a small group.

  • I don't judge anyone based on anything but their performance. I've never made an assessment of anyone's ability until I've worked with them for at least several weeks. With that clear, I think the suggestion that women are somehow better bosses is pure nonsense. They might be operate differently from men, but what do they do that makes them inherently better? Over my career I've been exposed to enough managers of both sexes to have seen some consistent patterns.

    The attributes I've seen in bosses some how ge

  • My first thought was, is it that women are potentially better managers or is it that people (and at that, maybe more for men or women?) like being managed by a woman regardless of her methods. IE, given a male and a female manager with everything else being equal, would the managed people act differently and thus be better employees?

    I would be interested in testing what would happen if people were managed blindly, by someone who you dont know what sex they are. That of course would require some setup, as

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:30AM (#39452699)

    The summary says that women make decisions that are more "democratic", but that doesn't mean they make "better" decisions. My experience is that female leaders are less willing to make hard, unpopular decisions, even when that is what needs to be done.

    There are few matriarchal societies, and the few that exist, such as the Mosuo [wikipedia.org]. tend to be in isolated regions where they are protected from war. Could this be because war requires leaders to make the kind of hard, unpopular decisions that women are often bad at?

That does not compute.

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