« "The Feminine Mystique" at 50 | Main | How to Recognize Your Calling »

01/29/2013

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I believe that women are highly underestimated especially in the workplace. I was reading an article earlier this week comparing the salaries of men and women in the same positions. Not surprisingly the men were making more. I just couldn't wrap my head around it. Each gender had the same job title and was completing the same work for the company but yet the men earned a higher salary. Why is this? Makes you think about a sex change huh? I am joking but it does raise a huge issue for me.

As this article mentions there has been extensive research done on the vast differences between men and women. Women have a completely different way of things than men do. I am in no way saying that women are better than men or that women make better leaders than men. If given the opportunity woman can go far.

As far as from a management standpoint I think a company would be smart to have their management teams made up of both men and women. If we combine man and woman's strengths I think it would benefit everyone.

I think that an organization will benefit extensively if management teams consisted of both men and women. Bringing together the different ideas and reactions that both bring to the table will only strengthen the diversity of a company. The ideal idea would be to bring in not only both genders, but to include a few people from different cultures and ethnic groups. I enjoyed the article.

I think that both hiring and performance evaluations should be done "blind". All of the applicants information should be redacted to reduce bias by gender, age, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, etc.. The hiring panel could then review the true qualities of the candidates. Then initial interviews should be done by phone at least to limit bias based on any visual differences.
Performance evaluations, similarly, should be done in a way to limit bias. independent evaluators should pull together all the documentation for the evaluation. It should then be compiled into a standard format and redacted to reduce bias. Then an a team would review the packet and suggest a performance rating.

Kathy,

I agree that an integrated leadership team is the way to go.

Science tells us that men and women use different parts of their brains and consequently have different behaviors that lead to different leadership styles. Gender-based differences play out in leadership nearly every day influencing how men and women communicate, act, react, problem-solve, make decisions and work together. One is no more effective than the other; but joined holistically within a balanced leadership team, can lead to a better business outcome.

More at: http://www.coachingtip.com/2012/12/an-integrated-leadership-team.html

I agree with William that the selection process should be done blindly. I believe that merit, hard-work and proven skills will have a better impact on how someone leads their team. Unfortunately, I don't believe that is a practice that companies have; therefore, in my opinion there is still a glass ceiling that is intact in many ways. Does anyone agree or disagree?

Phone interviews are very common in the corporate world. My husband has done interviews via telephone, being interviewed and being the interviewer. It is a very easy way to get information from the candidate to see if they have the qualifications for the job position. It takes less time for a phone call than to schedule an entire day for multiple people to waste their time on someone that does not qualify for the postition.
I also do agree that having both men and women working together in leadership roles is the ideal way for a company to be run. Having two types of "brains" is a great way for a company to run smoothly.

I think that the important part of this is the term "coaching". In any environment, if someone is not up to par with the work ethic or there is room to grow, a coaching is always in order. Man or woman: coachings are simple to make someone better and to raise their work levels. Coachings are not meant to be condescending and if there is condescension, there is going to be anger and hurt feelings. Having both male and female work leaders means a well rounded decision making team.

Although it is very clear that women in the workplace are much better listeners than men, I don’t believe there is such a thing as being a better leader. It is a difference in style and approach that creates results. As a manager myself I have had to become more emotionally aware of my subordinates and learn to capitalize on their abilities. All leaders in any organization should be able to relate to their employees and be able to communicate on common ground; this is a skill that is a developed over much practice.

To address Cileena’s concern regarding the salary differences between men and women, “only 7 percent of the female students had negotiated but 57 percent of the men had asked for more money” (Negotiation Readings, Exercises and Cases; Sixth edition by Roy J. Lewicki, David M. Saunders, and Bruce Barry) Like you stated that men and women perform the same jobs under the same job title however they receive less money. From my readings women believe that if they ask for more money than is offered they may offend their potential future boss, and so they take their offer under the assumption that it is a fair wage. If women would simply ask there may not be such a difference in pay.


So I am clear, I do have a female supervisor whom is very strong and yet not very good at communication. However, she does have great ability to research and meet deadlines. Like every other manager it takes time to develop their skills to be a truly effective leader.

I think we generalize too much. To categorize leaders by male or female as to which one is superior just goes to show how "far" we have come since the 70's. Women as a whole have to first overcome the institutional ceilings that have been implemented by society since their birth. Then they have to understand that like many things that have adapted to change, the time will come or is already here. It will not propel women forward, but it will only make it an equal playing field. As far as what makes a good leader I have little doubt that women will ever as a whole be better leaders than men. I also find the convention thought that men are better leaders to have little truth. So really instead of debating what sex is better, we should find what makes those individuals the best leaders and end the petty debate that seems to perpetuate sexism in the workplace.

There has been a lack in gender diversity in many organizations. I believe that both men and women can make great leaders, but women can create a “sustainable future” in the eyes of the company. In general, organizations that place value on gender diversity perform better. Also, peers with in those organizations perform better on the multiple ranges of corporate sustainability.
A 2012 Dow Jones study shows that business startups are more likely to succeed if they have women on their executive team. And according to the Center for Women’s Business Research, although women own about 40% of the private businesses in the U.S., women make up less than 10% of venture-backed start-ups.
A 2011 Grant Thornton International Business Report found that women now hold 20% of senior management positions globally, which is actually down from 24% in 2009 and only up 1% since 2004. More women have risen to top positions in countries such as Thailand, Hong Kong, and Africa, than in North America. As of 2011, there are only 98 female CEOs among the 3,049 publicly traded companies in the U.S., a 3.2% increase over 2010 and 2.9% increase over 2009.
So what actions can we take to insure that there are more women in senior executive positions? There are already regulations requiring organizations to review this, but it may not be enough. In my opinion, it is critical to bring more women into the workforce and fully deploy high-skilled women to drive productivity. I believe that leaders need to tell the majority of men in the corporate life to accept change, and allow new and different styles of leadership to move in and move up.

Charles,

I agree that we "generalize too much."

Let's face it--there are inherent gender differences that make it more challenging to build cross-gender relationships. And in today's hypersensitive workplace, men are much more cautious in their dealings with women. However, when 50 percent of the workforce is made up of women, it behooves men to build bridges, look for women's strengths, and learn how to leverage them. Coaching women in the leadership pipeline represents a huge opportunity to grow the organization.

Science tells us that men and women use different parts of their brains and consequently have different behaviors that lead to different leadership styles. Gender-based differences play out in leadership nearly every day influencing how men and women communicate, act, react, problem-solve, make decisions and work together. One is no more effective than the other; but joined holistically within a balanced leadership team, can lead to a better business outcome.

I believe that women in the modern era have done well to break through the “glass ceilings” in most cases. I agree that there are no doubt certain companies and industries that are behind the power curve in waking up to the modern era and promoting women and using them to the best of their ability. In my experience in work women in general are much more organized and task focused. I would like to be careful about generalizing too much I can only speak to my experiences. I agree with what Charles posted earlier that we tend to generalize to much and instead we should focus more on the individual and their traits to learn from those individuals. However, the problem in those companies where glass ceilings still exist must still be addressed. How then will these companies be persuaded to see that women are as capable and even more capable to perform at the top level? My opinion on this is that it is already in progress. Every woman that makes an impact on a company or becomes a great success they are helping to break the existing glass ceilings. I will note that my opinion lacks a quick time frame. I know that learning by trial and error is a long process but I also believe that it is how humans learn best. The continued success of women will promote the breaking of glass ceilings everywhere and as the world grows more connected and more complicated I believe that women’s distinct advantage to the workplace will shine through.
As to the original question, do I believe that women make better leaders? I must say it all depends on the individual. I shy away from making bold generalizations based on gender and or race. I believe that the science behind it has validity and I am sure that with more research we will learn in which instance women are preferred leaders over men. However, for me I still say you have to look at it on individual basis.

Do Women Make Better Leaders? I would have to answer both yes and no. Yes-women have come a long way. I think that there might be certain positions that a woman might not feel comfortable in having to deal with the male population in that company. Abd as such, they would not be a good fit: not because they are not capable of doing the job, but maybe because the men under her guidance is not receptive to having a woman in a leadership position. No-if a woman in a management position does not have the backing of her subordinates, she will not be successful. Does anyone agree or disagree? Please feel free to respond to this posting. Chuck H. 2/11/13

I disagree about having phone interviews to eliminate gender bias. How easy is it to tell a mans voice from a woman's over the phone. Anyone would be able to tell instantly if the person on the other end is male of female. How is this going to work to eliminate bias amongst genders? The big problem is that we as humans are not looking at everyone the same. Men are stronger, bigger, perhaps this could be one reason why woman often get overlooked?

I see nothing wrong with telephone interviews especially is people are many miles away and are unable to attend an interview in person. However, when an upper management position is open, it is still a man's world (typically). The only way I think that we could eliminate any biasesness would be to have a blind panel interview, with the voices disguised so that everyone looks the same behind a curtain, and sound the same through digital enhancements. This is just a though? I challenege anyone to disagree!!! 2/12/13.

What if interviews were done on an internet site designed like a chat room? That could disguise voices and appearance. I do have to say that having a woman as one of the top positions in a company would give it an advantage over a company who just has all males. It brings a different perspective in.

Gender shouldn't be an "issue we still need to discuss" but rather an understanding of individualism, values, ethics, capabilities and potential. Scientifically, yes, there are inherent differences between the genders; however, I don't believe this is driving the workplace to be hypersensitive - that is developed from a societal behavior that we've come to accept as the norm. Neither right nor wrong - it's where we are.

I personally don't think it necessary for a woman to let a man know "what I need and how men can help me" in regard to development and leadership. I was unaware that men have capitalized on the leadership market. Steve is correct when he commented that, "All leaders ... should be able to relate to their employees and be able to communicate on common ground; this is a skill that is a developed over much practice." Nowhere does it state that to be an effective leader you must be male. Qualities identified to be found in successful leaders are dedication, magnanimity, openness, creativity, fairness, assertiveness and one of my favorites, humility. These skills might be easier developed for one individual more than the other, but there is no miracle DNA.

Those who are driven to be exceptional leaders and motivated to climb the corporate ladder typically have the assistance of a good mentor.


Elizabeth & Jeff,
In author Janet Pucino's "Not In The Club: An Executive Womans Journey Through the Biased World of Business," she believes that gender biases must be rooted out during job placement.
One male executive she interviewed suggested that organizations follow the hiring practices of large orchestras and conduct blind reviews of resumes by replacing names with a candidate number.
If organizations are truly committed to rooting out gender bias, this practice should be applied to the hiring process periodically to monitor the degree of bias in the company. There are many firms that specialize in diversity recruiting, and companies need to aggressively pursue these paths to rise above the hidden biases from their internal recruiters.
More on gender bias at: http://www.coachingtip.com/2013/02/gender-bias.html

John,
If an organization is truly unbiased, and even conducts blind reviews of resumes, what can a candidate do, if during the interview process they feel they are being discounted because of their gender? What will it take to havr hidden bisaes removed from interviewers? And can one be truly sure, that there is no biasesness during the interview process. I would like to know what you think can be done. Chuck H.

I would like to return to the core question: "Do Women Make Better Leaders?"
This question obviously invites generalizations, but, as many have pointed out in this blog, we need to be very careful not to generalize or jump to conclusions, based on assumptions, insufficient evidence, flawed data, cultural background, or prejudices.
We need to look at and recognize performance, drive, and potential, no matter where they come from. I liked this quote by Sophia Loren: "Getting ahead in a difficult position requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go much further than people with vastly superior talent."

Chuck H,

You raised some good questions about hidden gender biases. An article in today's New York Times entitled, "Why Gender Equality Stalled," discusses gender workplace roles research and suggests that our goal should be to develop work-life policies that enable people to put their gender values into practice.
Regarding how to best influence the hidden biases of interviewers, it is my belief that corporate cultural memes regarding gender must change before internal recuiters and recruitment firms will allow their perceptions to evolve.

Do women make better leaders? It's fair to say that EO in America was established to make US companies more demographically correct and to thwart discrimination. However the premise of most "isms" is that one race, gender, or ethnicity is superior. So, for awhile we practiced quotas based on demographics, and found that to be discrimination in nature itself. So now we come back to the question at hand, and I hear things like companies whose management are gender diversified, or have unbiased gender hiring processes are better companies than those whose are not, they essentially have a contradicting argument. If we look at it purely from a equality stand point, then whether a company has all males, all females, or a mixed of any ratio male to female, than those companies should in theory perform the same; because having either male or female management shouldn't give you an advantage. due to the nature of equality. So with that said we should be able to say,"no, women do make better leaders." Or we can say that we are all not created equal and someone is better than the other.

I disagree with telephone interviews or interviews via chat rooms that disguise a candidate's voice to eliminate gender bias. I don't believe the benefit of trying to eliminate biases would outweigh the cost of hearing (or seeing) how this person communicates verbally and nonverbally. I believe the main issue is trying to eliminate the gender bias (and really any bias) from the company culture and individuals within it.

I work in HR and have been involved in recruiting many employees for our company. Unfortunately I have ran into several different biases from hiring managers. For example, one Program Manager told me after we on-boarded a new female Project Manager that he wouldn't have suggested hiring her if he knew she had a young child. Although she was the most qualified for the position, he was sure she wouldn't be as committed to it. Essentially, if he had known she was a mother, this Program Manager would have suggested hiring a less qualified person.

Really the work needs to be done at the corporate level, ensuring that necessary training is conducted and proper value is placed on diversity consciousness to help eliminate these biases.

We still have a long way to go when it comes to eliminating gender biases that have been part of most cultures for thousands of years. With very few exceptions, women have historically been treated as inferior and subordinate to men, and this blatant discrimination was and still is supported, encouraged, and even taught by organized religions. Recent examples:
- The Pope, as the head of the Roman Catholic Church, still opposes women priesthood.
- In 2003, Israel's Supreme Court upheld a government ban on women wearing tefillin or tallit prayer shawls, or reading from a Torah scroll at the Western Wall. Ten women were recently arrested for wearing prayer shawls while praying in the woman's section (yes, men and women are still segregated at the holiest Jewish site) of the Western Wall.
- Only a couple of weeks ago, France officially lifted a ban on women wearing pants.
- Millions of women today are forced to wear veils and are not allowed to drive a car.
Here in the US, of course, we don't have any of these problems anymore - think again!
I recently went to Carl's Junior and noticed a full-size cardboard cutout of a bikini wearing young women, promising customers eternal youth, good looks with six-pack abs, and magical meltdown of unsightly body fat, all by eating a certain type of burger.
As long as we keep depicting and demeaning women as mere sex objects, or ban them from showing their face in public, it's going to be very hard for recruiters to transcend these cultural stereotypes and make unbiased hiring decisions.
"When I was little, I did not even have dreams." Yemeni woman

"What the economy requires now is a whole different set of skills: You need intelligence, you need an ability to sit still and focus, to communicate openly to be able to listen to people and to operate in a workplace that is much more fluid than it used to be. Those are things that women do extremely well.” (Hanna Rosin)
As society progress, our perceptions on who makes a good leader evolves. Our images of leadership are changing. Women are replacing men as the main or sole role model in many fields. Women's power in society is increasing by sheer numbers (more college graduates, more managers, becoming more powerful earners). Women qualities and skills are becoming more obvious as society becomes more aware of women's contributions and value. Are women better leaders? Is society evolving, equalizing or leaning towards qualities that women have?

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Search This Site:


Sign Up Here


  • Enter your Email

    Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Career Management Books

Advertising





  • Privacy Policy
    We use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit our website. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address, or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. For example, Google, as a third party vendor, uses a DART cookie to serve ads on this site based upon your visit to our sites and other sites on the Internet. You may opt out of the use of the DART cookie by visiting Google ad and content network privacy policy at: www.google.com/privacy_ads.html. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used by these companies, please contact the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) at (207) 467-3500 or www.networkadvertising.org.

Books