Are You Man Enough to Report to a Woman?

Women in management positions have a unique set of challenges to deal with. As a woman who has managed and worked side by side with men for many years, I have certainly come to appreciate the development women need to make in order to work in senior positions in business. From what I hear, my experiences are common.

While women can certainly upgrade their synaptic pathways to adopt new, more effective strategies for success, I have found it is equally important to develop people around women in leadership positions, both men and women, to benefit from the unique qualities women bring to the table.

What does it take for men and women to accept the authority and leadership of women in senior positions?

In truth, the key strategies needed for accessing the potential of working under the leadership of women are not unique to being led by women. Take, for example, a team that has difficulty accepting the authority of a woman because team members lack the effective strategies responsible for the ability to accept that different perspectives are equally legitimate. The fact a certain strategy is missing will have many consequences. In this case, the team will have a hard time truly listening to clients, seeing opportunities and threats that contradict existing perceptions, and much more. The response to women in management positions will be another representation of the strategies that are at the heart of how the team operates.

That said, in some cases the interaction with women in management positions seems to amplify the impact that certain missing strategies have on the team.

Is it possible that teams are having a harder time defining boundaries for themselves when working with women in leadership positions than when working with men in leadership positions? Is it possible that people intuitively have a better sense of how to follow a man than how to follow a woman?

It’s hard to say that women have been accepted as equal in the workplace. Women certainly have a long way to go in defining their own balance, developing effective leadership and management styles. But, like with any relationship, the growth can not be one-sided. Teams must develop the needed strategies that will allow them to work effectively under the leadership of women.

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