Why Women Often Fail as Managers
Updated: Oct 17, 2019
This subject really gets to the heart of what is keeping more women from reaching the top rungs of corporate America. If they can’t cut it as managers than why make them executives? I will be writing about this quite a bit, but I felt it important to get this subject out there because women in business, or women in anything is critical right now as we experience even more rights being lost under the Trump administration.
But let’s get back to the subject. Why do women often fail as managers? Unfortunately, we are rarely raised for effective careers in business. We still think too much of what happened during our school years when we move into management spots. If we were the popular girl, we have one approach to life; while women who were “outsiders” when they were young may have a very different approach. But business is not like school. If anything, it’s a wonderful chance to start over. To begin, we must never look at another woman the way we would back in school. We must learn to evaluate each other as we are now We need to consider a woman’s skill sets, experience, strengths and weaknesses with absolutely no thought about what sorority or cheerleading squad she belonged to. (I have become a big fan of team sports for women as they teach us to think as a team and find ways to work together to reach a goal. Also, the coaching styles for men and women are very similar and that is very helpful for working together in the future.) When we look at another woman, we should not be evaluating her for the role of best friend, but rather as business colleague.
Learning managerial skills is not easy because so few companies offer training anymore. Generally, you must be at a Fortune 500 company to benefit from those type of programs. And it’s important to understand that you are not just looking for something to add to your resume. You are looking for a learning situation. So, if you are working at a small company you may have to find programs to help, you. First and foremost, you must know how to lead a team. A good way to train for that is working with a non-profit. Join an organization in an area you care about or are interested in and volunteer for a committee. Understand how to motivate different types of personalities, how to assign tasks and lead your team to complete them on time and under budget. And, most importantly, learn how to listen. This is a crucial management skill for all leaders.
Now that’s not to say we shouldn’t use a few of the rules of the boy’s club. Women should look at promoting more of their female colleagues who are qualified because the members of the boy’s club aren’t going to. We should look at mentoring other women because that is important for preparing women for more executive positions. And we absolutely must ensure that all women are paid the same as men in similar roles doing similar work. But we should never scream at each other or abuse each other in anyway. We should not plot against each other or talk about each other behind our backs. When we enter the workforce, we must leave girlhood behind, along with other childish or petty behaviors. And if we ever feel a need to “pull out the pom poms,” it should only be to cheer each other onward and upward.