Whether right or wrong, it’s difficult to argue that the majority of men, especially those upwards of 30 years of age, have been exposed to more societal norms pointing to patriarchy than they have to matriarchy.
Just as it’s difficult for some guys to accept that the St. Louis Rams are, indeed, now in Los Angeles, it can be a challenge for some men in the workplace to rid themselves of the patriarchal normalcy that has been ingrained in their heads for, literally, their entire lives. Not surprisingly, this can lead to (at least) a confused psyche for a man when a female steps into a leadership role at the workplace.
Whether internalized or not, the uncomfortable mindset can and almost certainly will lead to awkward exchanges, tense work environments, and ultimately a decline in productivity.
Stepping out of one’s comfort zone is never easy, but when it comes to accepting women in leadership roles, it’s time to strap the boots on, fellas. A recent study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research determined that having women as superiors has led to increases in productivity, and shrinking the gender gap has paid the same dividends.
Here are some tips for men who are experiencing a woman in power for the first time (it’s not going to be the last), and reasons why the women in leadership roles will ultimately help your business.
Allow Yourself to Learn
Anything that is foreign takes some time to get used to. If you’re a man who has only ever had male coaches, male bosses, and male role models, it’s natural to get a lump in your throat when you hear the company announce that your new boss will be a woman. It doesn’t make you a bad person.
One thing those coaches, bosses, and role models had in common, was the fact that they have taught you something. Just as natural as the preverbal “lump in throat” mentioned in the last paragraph is, it’s just as natural to respect someone who you have learned from. Cue the female boss interaction.
A 2016 study proved that women in the workplace outperform men in 11 out of 12 “soft skills,” including empathy, inspirational leadership, conflict management, and organization. All of those things are important to maintaining a motivated staff, and equally important when it comes to dealing with clients and customers.
Take a deep breath and self-evaluate which of those soft skills you know your new female boss does better than you. Then set up a meeting to listen, and learn how to polish your own. It will take away tension and build respect both ways.
Look at the Numbers ($) and Think About the Big Picture
Progression of the human race isn’t the only reason why more and more females are landing executive roles within companies. Empowering women in business is good for the brand.
A little math: Women make up more than 47% of the U.S. workforce. That means the odds of your company having close to a 1:1 male-to-female ratio are pretty good. In recent years, women have also been earning degrees at a higher rate than men (roughly 56% of college students are female), meaning those women in the office are, statistically speaking, better educated.
The most important number here, though, is (as studied by the Bureau of Economic Research) that in every instance, hiring a female executive increased productivity of all employees, not just females. Females do see a sharper increase in productivity when a fellow female is appointed over them.
As a conservative example, the study dictates that a firm with a 20 percent female workforce would increase overall productivity, per employee, by 3.7 percent, and the female employees would carry the load, increasing their productivity by 14 percent each, on average.
In short, productivity increases when women take over, and the level to which it increases is proportionate to the number of female employees working for that company.
Hang in There, Sister
You didn’t get to where you are by not caring about the success of the company. Realizing these trends, and accepting that they are, indeed, the best way to keep the economic engine running at full capacity will pay personal and professional dividends in the modern world.
Remember to learn, remember to teach, and remember the “one-team, one-fight” mantra, even if your previous teams haven’t had as many women on them. It’s easy to overcome the tension if business is good!
This content is sponsored by Andrew Deen.
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