Alpine Summit

Monday, June 27, 2005

Business Rose

Here are some comments about women in business. Basically saying that female leaders in business are sorely needed for businesses to succeed. I can't say I completely agree with that view.

My own personal experience with female bosses has been from the Officer's Club on the Air Force Academy. My shift managers were all men, but the GM for the club was a woman. I wasn't really a fan of her in the sense that nobody really enjoys their boss. In retrospect though, she was fair and no-nonsense (as were the shift managers) and was a good boss overall.

My mother's experience with female bosses though has been somewhat less glossy. Backstabbing and manipulative behavior was her experience. Which is why she would much rather work for a man than a woman any day of the week. In fact, every time she worked under a female, the same cat-fighting and vindictive nature would rear it's ugly head.

In a more general sense, women CEOs have not had the greatest track record. the CEO of HP was fired after taking a hugely succesful on-the-rise company and running it into the ground. It may be she was simply a victim of circumstance, but I think it had more to do with bad decisions on her part. Then there's the case of E-Bay where just the opposite happened. The CEO took a small, relatively unknown company, and turned it into the Wal-Mart of the Internet. There have been a good share of bad male CEOs as well (i.e. Sunbeam, Inc.), but because there are far more male leaders, the percentages favor men as business leaders over women.

I'm not saying women can't or shouldn't be leaders, but simply that they tend to be far more controlling and overbearing in their leadership style- internally. Externally, they tend to be more empathetic and "polite" towards their competition- meaning the interests of the company can get put on the back burner, a huge no-no in the CEO job description.

I think anybody (male or female) aware of and able to address their shortcomings as a leader can overcome them and be a great leader. Women should recognize they aren't really good at being competitive or being as pragmatic about running the company, and men should recognize that they really aren't good at communicating with others in a constructive manner or building alliances.

This certainly doesn't apply to ALL men and women- but in general, it just seems men (despite their shortcomings) make better overall business leaders. I just think the aggresive nature of business is favors men over women.



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