What my boss is a woman!
Being a female leader, I should know that a female boss is just as good as a male one. So why after all these years, does it still fill me with anticipation when I find out my new boss is a woman. Images of “The devil wears Prada” Miranda Priestly flash in front of me.
I think back to the female managers and executives in my time. One was aloof and lacked responsiveness to me despite being all over the male employees in her team. Another said she deserved respect as she was much older than me, and continued her bully tactics making the weaker girls tearful. Needless to say, she did not last long.
Another did not consider fighting for me despite my high performance. Each of them according to me lacked trustworthiness, humility, compassion and support for the same kind. I recalled the warm conversations and praise to my face, but maybe I did not realise how strong that Neanderthal competitive woman edge instinct really is in some.
Kim Elsesser, a lecturer at UCLA, analysed responses from more than 60,000 people and found that women – even those who were managers themselves – were more likely to want a male boss than a female one. The participants explained that female bosses are "emotional", "catty" or "bitchy".
Trying to make sense of it, maybe these women are trying to survive in a male created world, adapting to the situation they found themselves in. I did however start to put myself in their shoes, excusing them for the pressures they faced, assuming it was the homework struggle they may be enduring.
But I still could not agree. I still thought they should have made more of an effort to be more empathetic to other women and lift them up. Aren't we in this together!
I guess I should be grateful for the negative experiences I experienced in my career. They made me realise the type of manager I did not want to be.
Their behaviours opened my eyes to why we, and I mean the female managers, leaders and those aspiring to be, should make more of a conscious effort to remedy this. We need to become more aware of ourselves and the impact our behaviours have on others. We need to remember the times when we struggled with the challenges of being a woman and struggling to still have a career and a family.
We need to then use these experiences to support other women and men and provide positive role models. It will take more women to recognise that the bitchy, catty, self-absorbed and unsupportive image is not one that we want to strengthen.
I say if you can get the same results being nice why be so bitchy!