Male or Female Boss?

Hillary Clinton might want to sit up and pay attention to results of our exclusive survey on attitudes in the workplace.
While more than half our 60,000 respondents said a person’s sex makes no difference to leadership abilities, most who expressed a preference said men are more likely to be effective leaders.
Men Rule — At Least in Workplace Attitudes: Even women seem skeptical of female bosses

Try all you want to strip away the masculine image of a leadership role, but some men will always have difficulty “taking orders from a woman.”
Is that innate?
Is it a conditioned or learned response?
“One cannot live in a sexist society without absorbing some of those messages, which make women feel worse about themselves and suspicious of other women,” ….. “The enemy is omnipresent cultural messages, not women themselves.”

“There are long-established attributes that are assigned to men and women
,….expert on workplace sex bias and professor of psychology at New York University…. Women take care of others and nurture, while men are seen as taking charge and being assertive.

So women are stuck between a rock and a hard place, trying to be ambitious without overdoing it. According to our study, women don’t want to come off too confident and aggressive for fear of being labeled bit-chy. But they also don’t want to be wishy-washy or risk being called indecisive or emotional.

One quote from a male that took our survey points to an uphill battle:
“As liberated as I consider myself to be, I think I’d have a problem taking orders from a woman.”


Hmmmm…So Where does a boss’s managerial “style” come from sweet friends, and how can it not have to do with gender?

Is your boss tough when it’s warranted, accommodating when he or she can be; accurate, punctual and fair minded?

Are you the boss?

If becoming “emotionally involved” is a negative in the workplace, there is no doubt that women will have to try to squash their natural makeup and tendencies in order to be perceived as “competent.”

Does it then depend entirely on the nature of the job or profession.

Men are “natural leaders”, and innately less emotional. It’s all about command and control.
Clearly there are situations which warrant this. (Think Military, Professional Football)

Women are more nuturing and mentoring, which is reasonable, even necessary in certain professions more than others. (Think Social Service)

Womens’ natural participatory style may backfire in traditional male settings.
By the same token, a man’s command-and-control style may backfire in a social-service agency.

The PC police will forever caution us against concluding that women and men have a natural or innate management style. Of course they do.

Men and women are not the same, period.
They bring their essence and “nature” with them where-ever they go….including to work.

Initially, when women poured into the work force en masse, they tried to act more like men in any way they could. It was all about power suits and golf.
Cursing to prove they are “one of the boys”, and leaving babies and infants at younger and younger ages to return to work after maternity leave.

Now, women voluntarily sexualize themselves in the work place, demanding that cle-avage is somehow “empowering”? Ha.
Gender differences are not small.

Despite the “exception to the rule” argument, by and large………
Are women truly risk takers in the same manner that men are?

Can men be as effective being facilitating or supportive?

Some complaints alleged at female bosses:

They are too sensitive, too insecure, and ..again..that dreaded trait.. “too emotional”
There was “too much drama” and they internalized and personalized everything.
They were competitive with other women and out to prove that women are better than men.
They were way too concerned about being the “fashion queen”.

Some complaints alleged at male bosses:.
Despite their more even temperments, were not emotional enough at times.
They played “favorites”, giving perks, undeserved promotions and other special considerations to the young, sex-y women.
They were too intimidating at times, throwing around macho bravado and suffering from major “power and control” issues.

General observations by some:

Men are able to see the “Big Picture” better than women, because that is how the male mind works.
Problem? — Solution.
Some argue that women seem to get bogged down in details.
Many women seem “uncomfortable with conflict” want to make “nice nice”, while men can be confrontational when necessary and have no need to “make everyone happy” at the end of the day.
Male bosses didn’t give any guidance. It was more or less “sink or swim.”

Male and female bosses and managers may have lot to learn from each other.

Or………Do you feel gender differences are completely irrelevant…and that perhaps it is all about the individual?

With the letting of so many social values and mores, keeping personal and professional relationships separate, has become quite tricky, if not downright impossible.

One things for dang
Where there are men and women together……complexities will always ensue.

Sharing views of men and women with the men and women over at Nuke Gingrich, third world county, 123beta, Right Truth, The World According to Carl, Pirate’s Cove, Blue Star Chronicles, Big Dog’s Weblog, Leaning Straight Up, Cao’s Blog, Wolf Pangloss, Dumb Ox Daily News, Conservative Cat, and Right Voices, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.


26 Responses to “Male or Female Boss?”

  1. Joe Gringo says:

    Never had a woman for a boss…..except my mom! :-)

  2. Rastaman says:

    It’s true that most men don’t like taking orders from women. Most women would rather work for a man, as well.

    I think a good part of it is in how the bossing is done. A boss who “suggests” that something should be done, “would you mind skinning the cat?” or “the cat really needs to be skinned now” will keep an employee around a whole lot longer than “Get out there and skin the cat!” regardless of the boss’s gender.

    Which proves, of course, that there’s more than one way to skin a cat.


  3. David says:

    In my workplace experiences over the years, I had a fairly even mix of male and female supervisors. Out of that mix, I had two (genuinely) evil male supervisors (working off M. Scott Peck’s definition of human evil), a mix of competent/incompetent male supervisors, ONE competent female supervisor and other female supervisors whose incompetence was not only manifest but massively so.

    Of course, my experience is idiosyncratic (I’ve known few who had truly evil men for bosses, for example), but conversations with others who have had different employment experiences have led me to view female supervisors in the workplace with skepticism: that is, I withold my assessment and base mine on personal experience with the individual, not on reputation or noted achievemant (or lack thereof). Of course, I have done the same where male bosses are concerned, *heh*

    Most especially, I have never met a female pubschool principal or administrator with the competence to navigate her way out of a wet paper bag, let alone handle educational matters. (Seriously: it’s the area where I have had the most experience with female supervisors, and not one has been a competent teacher OR administrator; not one of my experience was fit to take out the garbage; totally useless, and worse: serious obstructions to teaching and learning. *pfui*) OTOH, I have met and worked with two (count ‘em: TWO) competent male pubschool principals. One was promoted to his level of incompetence within a few short years and the other I was only able to work with/for for a short while before he retired… and became principal at a private school.

    I am not entirely sure what the dynamics are that have led to so many female supervisors of my experience being incompetents. WHat I am sure of is that it is a combination of many factors and that “discrimination” against them because of their sex has not been among them.

  4. OMMAG says:

    Only seen one woman manager who was self assured enough to stay out of traps laid by your all too common office trolls.
    And she tanked her career to go home and be a mom.

    Every other female manager from front line to executive VP that I’ve dealt with has had obvious weaknesses and character flaws that should have kept them out of the levels of responsibility the achieved.

    It’s all too common for women to buy into the whole myth of having to work twice as hard and be twice as good as any man to succeed. The result is that too many women in management are insecure and overly prone to “Proving” themselves in ways that prevent them from being effective as managers.
    Too often wasting time and effort in justifying themselves and often getting in the way of or actively subverting peers and subordinates who excel.

    The Peter Principle works with women too and it works way too quickly.

    Sorry ladies … but you’ve got to get your shit together if you really want to be taken seriously.

    Remember … every time a woman gets pushed up the ladder by political correctness and falls down there are 100 deserving women who won’t get thee chance because of it.

  5. Debbie says:

    I’ve had women bosses and I’ve had male bosses. Some of each were good and some of each were rotten. It’s the person, not the sex that makes the difference. Nice post Angel.

  6. American Interests says:

    Had two females bosses in my time, one ok, if only just the other, a total bitch.

    Off topic, well kind of: She did it on the virtual eve of her New Hampshire primary win, and now, on the actual eve of what is going to be a Super Tuesday…sigh, she once again quite nearly sheds a tear…

    I can just picture it, a moment of extreme tension during lengthy and heated negotiations on Middle East policies, when quite unexpectedly, one of Abbas’s or Ahmadinejad’s aids pulls out a cuddly 3 week old kitten. The American President resolve and astuteness is compromised as she is reduced to tears. Mahmoud, in a rare and widely publicized moment of compassion, immediately motions his aides to being a hankie for the President…

    I believe Estée Lauder has one of the best, tear and waterproof eyeliners around, and Hildebeest will be pleased its not animal tested….

  7. kevin says:

    The generalizations above may be true, but it still boils down to individual personalities.

  8. heidianne jackson says:

    well i hope that none of these complaints have been leveled about me as “the boss”…

    great post, as always, angel!

  9. david mcmahon says:

    Enjoyed your comment on my post about the bloke who’s driven his Chevy pickup nearly a million miles.

    And I’m so glad I visited your blog today. Good post on a fraught subject.

  10. KkarLlMM says:

    Apologizes to the PC police, but……..
    the issue has evolved to the role models that now exist..
    Noah, Abraham,Moshe,Jesus, Buddha etc…
    Every King, Ruler etc…The resume is not “If” a woman can preform the job, it has always simply been the job of the man thru out history, not as a slight to women but in compliment to the woman and her role.
    Evidentally, man is/was completely useless in positions that the woman has excelled in over the centuries. It is only recently that some pinheads have decided that everything is broken and MUST be fixed..
    The reality is, that we all need to do OUR OWN job to the absolute best of our abilities and let the score keeping be kept by the bookies!!!!

  11. Klin says:

    Have a female boss. LOVE her. she is amazing in how she directs us.

    Now for the important question. Does someone have the directions to 123 Fantasy Lane? I’m in need of that job, even if temporary;)

  12. Jungle mom says:

    It depends on the woman. As for Hillary, she is no Margaret Thatcher!

  13. Swift Hogs Friday Open Post and Trackbacks « Wolf Pangloss says:

    [...] Woman Honor Thyself // Monday, February 4, 2008 at 16:28 Male or Female Boss?One quote from a male that took our survey points to an uphill battle: [...]

  14. MK says:

    I’ve worked for both, both have their good points, women are more understanding, men are more dependable and aggressive when you need them to be. But they’re not all the same, some women are assertive and aggressive. Overall, women are more appreciative bosses, i think.

  15. Don L says:

    Being in my 8th decade and having worked for both women and men since I started as a teen, I can honestly say that my two favorite bosses were women. Both were fair and could be reasoned with when they made a weak decision and were ableto change their minds.

    Both were very supportive, and kept their eyes on the tasks at hand. But, I’m a male who isn’t afraid to ask for directions either.

  16. Howard Larson says:

    I’ve had many bosses in my career. And, I have been on second-tier staff for a couple of women. My opinion of them never involved gender. Competence was the major factor.

  17. cube says:

    My experiences have been mixed, but competence really wasn’t a result of their sex, it was the result of being able to handle the job.

  18. Gayle says:

    Over the years I have worked for many women. My experience made me conclude that it was far easier to work for a man. One woman boss was fat and obviously jealous of my slim figure. I bought a skirt hung below the knees and this was at a time when many of my co-workers were wearing mini-skirts. It was a sheer flare skirt in burgandy with a white liner underneath it. It was made that way and you couldn’t see through it. She insisted that it was a slip and that I go home and change. I told her literally where she could shove it! I caught another female boss stealing travel money. We made travelling arrangements for the executives and handled the money. Of course I turned her in. This time I managed to keep my job! :)

    I have had not one good experience with a female boss. Perhaps I’m just unlucky, but I don’t think so. All of them took their personal problems to the workplace. One of them was dumped by her boyfriend and took it out on on the men who worked under her, which was unusual, because she usually saved her bad side for the women. If I had to work today I’d never work for another woman, unless it was you, my Angel. :)

  19. HannahJ says:

    I’ve had two female and one male boss(es): Mom, Dad, and my current boss, who doesn’t show up much at work (writing/reading center) because she has so many meetings. She’s very efficient, although occasionally slow to alert us worker bees about changes in the schedule etc. Very nice post.

  20. Brooke says:

    I agree with JM and Cube on this one.

  21. Angel says:


  22. Gayle says:

    Okay, I admit I came back in here to see what I said that made you smile. Now I know! :)

    Perhaps part of the problem is that I was working for women when women were just starting out to really advance to higher positions in the work force. They were probably not secure. Things may have changed by now. I get along fine with my boss now, but only because I’ve been fortunate enough to be my own boss for years.

  23. Incognito says:

    And yet… there have been many stellar female leaders in the world. I have no problem with a female leader, just not this one we have salivating for the White House.

  24. ifiwereuiwouldhateme2 says:

    I am female and I have had a few incompetent or overly emotional or even just evil and rigid female supervisors. One even answers the phone like she is in the hood working at car wash or talking to “sir mix alot”. She makes tons of money too!!! I had one who cried all of the time and another who was like a robot and smiled when she discussed writing you up like she was becoming aroused watching you squirm. I had some men weirdos also though. One would forget everything and screamed all the time. I think some folks take those spots to prove something even with all the added responsibility and minor pay raise. I have had 1 REALLY good one when I was a teen working in a restaurant, I wonder what ever happened to her. She was firm, consistent and could even take a joke. I learned lots from that lady.

  25. Wallenhaven says:

    I have worked for both. The female bosses I’ve had were definitely tougher and more anal. They were also younger (early 30′s) and more aggressive than the males. I will have to admit, I hated it at times, but I think the females got better results. They definitely micro-managed more and were outright bitches at times. You expect some of that, but the main problem was that they were more into themselves and couldn’t care less about my career advancement. Many of my co-workers and I have discussed the gender issue, and in our case there seems to be agreement that it is better to work for a male, but a female may be better from the company’s perspective, in terms of getting things done.

  26. MatthewH says:

    It is all about the person, and not the gender. I have had many good female bosses, who were actually more competitive that the men. They were always fair, and unlike my last two male bosses and did not pick favourites. Women do have it harder, in my opinion, even thought I’m a man, I can say that because I’ve seen women get discriminated against by male colleagues or bosses. Even transgendered individuals have said that they were/are treated better as men. These are hard facts and men chose not to listen to them. I like to think of myself as a gentleman, by sticking to what I think is right instead of getting all caught up in my ego, and I think many men should do the same. But then again – I wouldnt be a hit with the ladies if every other man thought the same ;)