Tag Archives: Working women

More Double Standards For Women in Business

A recent report published by the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology concludes that female managers who are seen as unkind, insensitive and unaware of others’ feelings are judged as worse bosses because of it – yet men who exhibit the same qualities aren’t.

“It seems female managers may be expected to be sensitive to others’ emotions and to demonstrate this sensitivity by providing emotional support. Because of this, female managers’ job performance is judged on them being understanding, kind, supportive and sensitive,” says Kristen Byron, assistant professor of management in the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, who conducted the research. “In contrast, this is not the basis to evaluate the performance of male managers. It is far more important for male managers, and men, in general, to be seen as analytical, logical and good at reasoning than showing care and concern for others.”

As a female business owner and manager I find this very interesting and slightly frustrating. I see this in my own business – if women managers are not sensitive it’s definitely brought to my attention by the staff moreso than if a male manager or colleague is a bit hard-edged.

There have been a lot of articles and studies on the management style of women vs. mens and the entire “bitch” assumption for successful women in business. The truth of the matter is that we are different than men, we lead, we follow, we teach, we learn – differently. This doesn’t mean we are any better or worse at managing – we just use different tactics to get what we need. Unfortunately, we probably do waste too many cycles worrying about everyone’s emotions or thoughts. Caring less – perhaps embracing a little more of our selfish side – could make us more efficient.

But then again, what’s wrong with emotion? As the late, great Anita Roddick claimed, “I run my company according to feminine principles – principles of caring, making intuitive decisions, not getting hung up on hierarchy, having a sense of work as being part of your life, not separate from it; putting your labour where your love is, being responsible to the world in how you use your profits; recognising the bottom line should stay at the bottom.”

Amen!

Are You a Stress Addict?

It’s Sunday night and I’m experiencing my typical anxiety for the busy week that I know lies ahead. It’s all I can do to not work past midnight – I know it’s not a good way to kick the week off but I always feel like it might make the beginning of the work week less crazy (it never does – there’s always more work). I’m starting to wonder, after having read “Can’t Slow Down” by Lynn Harris in this month’s Glamour, am I a stress addict?

I’ve always known I’m a Type A, can’t-sit-down-for-long, list-making person. I pile a lot on my plate, probably don’t say no often enough and am usually late for everything because I continue whatever I am doing until the last possible second. But hooked on my own anxiety? I had never even considered it. But now – after taking the mini “how addicted are you” test in the article (sit still and do just one thing for 30 minutes, like read a book) I believe I am what Harris calls a “stress junkie.”

In the article, Harris writes about why stress is so bad for women – extra weight, heart problems, memory/concentration/performance issues and accelerated aging (eek!). Interestingly, she also writes about some of the reasons women in particular feel the constant need to live at an accelerated pace – one of which is technology. She talks about our “bleeping, beeping gadgets,” our need to be successful at everything (work, family, friends and more) and women’s unique need to feel connected and belong. In that vein, she mentions how all the new social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace put added pressure on an already time-constrained life – making time for all those new “friends” can be exhausting.

Harris also talks about not being able to relax even when she was “relaxing.” I completely understand that feeling. Whether it’s baking cookies with the kids, reading on the beach, decorating for the holidays or running, my mind is constantly going, thinking about how I need to do such personal “relaxing” tasks perfectly, or what I need to do as soon as the event at-hand is complete. I’m an incredible multitasker – never concentrating on just the one thing I’m doing.

I try to remind myself to live in the moment and enjoy what just “is” now. After reading this article I will also try to recognize my need to slow down and not seek validation in everything I do. I can’t make any promises… maybe I’ll ask all my Facebook friends to take a “likeness” test to confirm I’m not alone…