Gender stereotypes are quite common, but in the recent times, the notion of the male being the breadwinner and the housewife being the homemaker has undergone a change. Women have begun to contribute towards the financial aspects of their households. All thanks to modernization where women are getting educated and are gaining awareness about how the world works. And now, we see that women are not just leading companies but also their respective nations. A question arises, which is also the intent of this article. Have the office employees imbibed the spirit of modernization well enough, so much so that they accept a woman heading them? Or are they stuck with the notion that women cannot be at par with their male counterparts? Are women ideal for such jobs?
Characteristics of a Female Boss
Confidence: Confidence does not come from pretty or a smart dressing sense but it comes from a demeanour. This demeanour comes as they fear no one. They have seen gender bias all around them but they don’t care. For them, it is they and their viewpoints that matter. After years of suppression, when they are leading a group the urge to change it acts as a positive influence in bringing confidence in work.
Outspoken: They believe in speaking their mind whether it is a flowery praise or a harsh truth, no matter what their colleagues think of their personality. Every human has a right to assert their viewpoint but the problem is their colleagues do not realise the importance of their thought. Rather, they begin to think of their leader as someone who has an aggressive and dominant approach which is obviously not right.
Assertive: They know how to express their concerns. It is that, in the past, they were never provided with an opportunity to exhibit their potentials. Whenever they try to make their group members do certain jobs they are assigned to, they are termed as excessively dominant, rather than understanding that they are performing their roles just as is expected of a leader.
Sense of self: They know who they are and what they should be doing instead of people reminding them. Again, it is misunderstood by people as arrogance and excessive pride. It is pathetic to see how the stereotype is still stuck in people’s heads for their female boss- be it a man or a woman.
Hard-working: Women leaders have a sense of passion in them which drives them to make people do their job ensuring that there is no delay or procrastination in the employees towards performing their duties. They have a set of goals which they are driven to accomplish and have similar expectations from their co-workers.
Aggressiveness: Women leaders have constructive and emotional components in them which they use it for persuading their employees to do well in their duties thereby doggedly working towards the ultimate goal. Also, they know it well to defend themselves and ensure that no one takes advantage of their gender and work against them.
It can be seen that the qualities for a female leader are those which can be expected of any leader be irrespective of gender - having confidence in oneself, having a set goal and working hard towards pursuing the goals.
Pros of having a female leader
Women are empathetic: Women understand what a person might be going through at that particular state. For instance, in the case of providing with maternity leave or some situation related to family or life-related situations, women understand these problems patiently and are more likely to grant leave under such circumstances.
Women are Good Communicators: Women have been seen as better communicators than men as they are more understanding and cooperative towards their employees which perhaps comes from their own experience of being excessively controlled. Due to their empathetic nature and their good listening skills, they are able to understand their employees’ concerns better.
Women are Good Collaborators: Women are seen as better in terms of developing networking abilities thereby helping towards collaborating well with different departments in the office. It is because of the fact that women know their ability better than men do and this leads to a better understanding of others.
Women are Good Mentors: Women have that nurturing spirit in them. This has led to an observation that women are good in guiding their subordinates towards doing the job at the best level and gain satisfaction with their work. It is also because women themselves do not get mentors easily so they have that understanding of a mentor’s importance.
Cons of having a Woman Leader
“Queen Bee” Myth: It is a belief that when women become leaders they may begin to see themselves as superior and have critical outlook about others in the office. Research shows it depends more upon the personality trait of that particular individual.
Jealousy and Backbiting: women are initially seen as being friendly with them but as the counterparts become successful they show hostile feelings towards them. Also, it has been observed by studies that women also resort to actions which lead to the growth of their position in the company.
Emotional Disturbances: It has been a popular stereotype that women undergo mood swings due to hormonal imbalances and stressors, however, it has been proven true for both the sexes. But from an overall perspective, it has been found out that women are more likely to undergo more emotional disturbances than men. This can hamper their work performance of self and others.
Self-Branding: It has been observed that women remain modest and silent about their achievement as compared to men who are quite better in doing so because they are very much aware of their strengths. This also helps towards building a rapport with the employees and working towards accomplishing the targets of the company.
Male Boss or Female: Employees’ Perspective
It is true that most employees whether male or female, they prefer a male to be their head. After having analysed the various pros and cons of having a boss of both the genders, there are two factors justifying this preference - one is the approach towards working with the employees and the other is gender stereotyping.
According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the approach towards management by a female consists more of “mentoring and coaching” but in the case of a male it is more of “command and control.” APA claims that the former’s style may help the organisation in the long run. However, there is a contradiction- this very tendency of women to be caring and mentoring is only towards the female employees, as per the male employees. Even their male ego comes at threat when they see a woman holding a position of power.
Moreover, the existence of stereotyping is undeniable. The belief that males are better than females somewhere resides in the subconscious. For instance, If a male boss takes his time for reaching to a decision he is believed as being thoughtful whereas if a woman indulges in such thought, they will term it as over-thinking or over-analysing on their part. When the male head tries to be approachable to every employee, he has the quality of a good leader but if a female does so, she has no other work and if she does not do so, she is bossy.
The patriarchal notions and the misogyny operant in the society should be kept outside the workplace. Every employee is here to do their duty and gain money for their living. A female boss is in no way a step above or below a male counterpart. Break the old thoughts and get your views straight! It is 2017 for all that you know!