The boss who leans in
Women have come a long way in the corporate world. Although, still a minority, they have risen to be top bosses in major corporations like Facebook, General Motors and PepsiCo- but not before they made their share of mistakes. Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operations Officer of Facebook, in her book ‘Lean in’ talks about her trials and tribulations on her way to the top job.
Although often applauded for their multitasking abilities, women bosses still struggle to inspire and be accepted
Women have come a long way in the corporate world. Although, still a minority, they have risen to be top bosses in major corporations like Facebook, General Motors and PepsiCo- but not before they made their share of mistakes. Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operations Officer of Facebook, in her book ‘Lean in’ talks about her trials and tribulations on her way to the top job. Anecdotes of her mistakes as the boss showed both how she under-estimated herself at places while ruling with an iron hand at others.
Over the time, women employees have given their male counterparts a run for their money. But while some say they can make good and efficient bosses, naysayers believe they tend to be stricter and firmer only to the detriment of their teams. Managers, especially, make a major difference at a workplace; the attrition rate is directly proportional to the approach the manager maintains in taking a team forward.
Only because men have been in the corporate workforce much longer than women, the ratio of men is higher at managerial positions. This also puts additional pressure on women bosses to prove themselves against the settled majority. But how are employees reacting to female managers at their workplace. What changes when women take charge? For Ashish Mehra, an employee at Amazon, it was all bright when he landed his dream job, until his boss made work difficult.
“She embodied every female stereotype. Her yelling and desk-slamming made for a hostile work environment. My response to her was to be calm and controlled.” When asked how he kept up with his manager, he said, “I moved to another team after a few months, where a man supervised me. It’s so much peaceful now.” “It’s not good to get emotional under any professional circumstance, but in terms of how people perceive you, it’s riskier as a woman,” highlights Mary Cynthia, a manager from Deloitte.
“The probability’s higher that a woman will be a good boss. They motivate their employees, assert themselves to overcome obstacles and make informed, unbiased decisions for the good of their team. As women play several roles in their day-to-day life, it is easier for them to implement the same at the workplace,” adds Cynthia. “When women are in charge, they try to act like they are carrying the entire organisation’s burden, and not just the team.
Men have a much calmer and direct way of stating flaws in an employee, whereas women have an aggressive approach. My manager, who is a male, reacts to a downfall in quarterly-results in a much more positive way by further motivating the team to perform better. Whereas, a female manager calls for a team huddle which goes on for hours together pulling up every individual, failing to see the result as one delivered as a team,” states Deepa Rao, an employee at Accenture.
But just being a woman isn’t enough, many do not want the end game of feminism to be women rising to power to exploit other women. Soon after graduation, Neetha Barua, took up a job at a BPO. It was her debut in the corporate world. Though she had a smooth journey during her training period, the post-training time turned traumatic. “My manager was moody and unpredictable. At first, she treated me well. But after a few months she became unpleasant.
At weekly meetings, she’d criticise me and favour another person in the team, whom again she would abandon in course of time,” expressed the 24-year-old about her tumultuous experience at her first job. While a few feel that female managers are bossy and dominating, others say they are more inclined to provide regular feedback to help their employees grow in an organisation. “Women are more apt than men to find stimulating tasks to challenge their employees; they ensure associates develop within their current roles.
Their employees also tend to be more dedicated to their jobs as they drive that vision to stay focused,” says Uday Kumar, an employee from Oracle. Another employee, P Rachana from Oracle backs the statement. “Female managers outdo male managers in providing positive feedback that helps employees feel valued for their everyday contributions. They drive the power of positive reinforcement within the team. With the incidents of sexual harassment at workplace on the rise, I feel it safer and much more comfortable to work with a female team manager. They are very much approachable and maintain a healthy working atmosphere,” added Rachana.