Monday, June 13, 2016

Gender Conditioning and Bosses

A couple of days back, there was a discussion on the radio about female bosses vs male bosses. The discussion was initiated by one of the local news about a politician who made a statement that he decided to contest in an election because the other candidates were women and he didn't trust women leaders. Such statements are just so wrong on so many levels and yet they still occur in Malaysia. Perhaps it's an underhanded publicity stunt to get 5 seconds of fame.
Social bias and gender conditioning were raised when comparing leadership expectations from the different genders. Why do we assume that when a lady boss shouts, it's probably her time of the month, but when a male boss shouts, it's because he's macho?

There were numerous callers to the radio programme and some couldn't grasp the presenter's question on why are we shocked when we come across a female boss who is leaps and bounds better than a male boss. The fundamental reason of why we react with surprise rather than judging that female boss as a boss regardless of gender. And that got me thinking, why do we expect the worst when we hear that the boss is a female? And even worse if she is not married? 

In my years of working, I have noticed this stereotype perception and witnessed fellow females tear down their female bosses, which sometimes were uncalled for. Personal attacks rather than professional complaints.

To be honest, todate I have worked with a fair share of bosses - a majority of them females - and thankfully have never personally experienced the 'boss from hell'. Although some of them had a 'reputation' which I eventually found out from colleagues (both male and female bosses), I had never had serious issues working with them. Yes, there were good days and bad days but I've never had any boss scream at me.

In fact, the best bosses I've worked with are females and I still keep in contact with them. What do I mean by a good boss? It is someone who has the patience to teach and guide, to answer my 101 questions, to take time to find out if I am doing ok with the workload and to encourage career progression. Someone who makes an effort to get to know me on a personal level rather than just work work and work. Someone who gives and take according to situations and not be over-calculative on petty matters.

So either I am really lucky in choosing bosses or there are actually many good female bosses out there. I believe in the latter.

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