In the days when women were still underpaid (still are, I hear you say) they were keen to promote the idea of Same Pay for Same Job. And they were, and still are, right about that. But ask any workers whether there is a difference between the way a man manages and the way a woman manages, and those who are really tuned in will admit there is a difference.
Females are both better and worse at managing. Huh? Yes, there are features of management that women do really well, from their feminine side, and then there are features that require them to abandon their feminine side and look from a masculine point of view. This is a reflection of the survival patterns that have been encoded into us from the times of the caveman.
When the hunters came home with a kill, there was a feast. Lots of cooking, preparing, child-minding to keep them out of harm’s way while all this activity was going on. The men ate, drank and slept and went off on the hunt again, leaving the women to do some gathering of fruits or herbs and vegetables to add to the diet.
But hunting took days and days sometimes. During those times women sat around the fires at night, often getting into gossip and mischievous, excessive ‘noticing’ the short-comings of others around the fire. After all, there was no radio or television to entertain them and the children, so gossip was the way that they shared skills and information, and allowed senior women to have an honoured place and pass on the wisdom they had accumulated. In theory.
However, sometimes when people feel they are not listened to, not valued or not kept ‘in the loop’, they can react badly and become spiteful. Women are more inclined to take umbrage than men are, in my experience. But maybe I am not in the boys’ locker room to hear them gossip! If women have nothing better to do, they will talk about each other and report who said what etc until the cows come home. A very dangerous past-time!
So what does that mean for women who are managers? Whether they manage an all-girl team or a mixed team, they need to be able to sort the chaff from the grain in the irritant department. Some irritations are important and have to be dealt with; some are a waste of time and emotion. So telling the difference is crucial.
Using the yardstick of: “Will this be important in 1, 3 or 5 years?” can be useful. So squabbling over car park spaces or trivia left on the floor can safely be relegated to the do-now-and-forget box. But deep enmities (not merely a short tiff) between people need to be addressed before they cause mass resignations and the company goes down the gurgler. Telling the difference can be what really makes a good manager, male or female.
Effective, decisive moves come from the masculine energy. Tender, kind moves come from the feminine energy. There is a place for each of them but not always together. You gotta ‘know when to roll ’em, and know when to fold ‘em….”.