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Seb Anthony

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Managing in a female environment


Am currently coaching a senior manager who has recently moved from managing a large team in a mainly male environment. He has recently moved to managing a team of mainly females... Can anyone recommend some supportive reading material as he would like to embark on some self study.

Many thanks

Gary R. A. Hosey

3 Responses

  1. Men are from Mars Women are from Venus?
    What exactly is it that he would like to ‘self study’ on?
    Obviously there are differences between the way men and women work but as a manager could he not just apply the generic skill of listening?
    If the self study is to try and understand how to manage female staff as opposed to male staff then instead of looking into a book for answers maybe he could try asking them how they would like to be treated and apply this to each individual.

    The reading material on how the female mind works is plentyful but none of it can be applied as a blanket solution as the personalities of the people in his team and the mood they are in on any particular day (yes women have mood swings!) are not covered within those pages.

    I would encourage your coachee to get to know his staff so that managing them is not so much dictated by a book but by him.

    One topic I would suggest your coachee looks into is body language as you can figure out how a person is feeling through this before he has had time to get to know them.

    Failing that just make sure the listening skill is in place and take it from there.

    Good Luck!

  2. Listen and get to know them
    I have to agree with Emma. Listening to the individuals he manages will be the best way of working with them on a professional level.

    Yes, there are differencies in the sexes and he might even find it easier to work with women purely because women tend to be more honest and open about our feelings about something and will let our managers know.

    On a lighter level, tell him to take out a subscription to Grazia etc if he wants to know how womens minds work and get in touch with his feminine side!

  3. understanding women
    It’s certainly hard moving from a male-dominated to a female-dominated setting, for either gender. The previous suggestions are very important, particularly in getting to understsand how the different individuals like to be managed – what in their experience brings out the best in them. In this way he’s responding to people as individuals rather than as “Women”.
    For self-study I’d suggest three things:

    • I think he’d do well with Deborah Tannen’s workTalking from Nine to Five – men and women at work as a start.
    • Also something more general about differences in organisational culture – the difference may not only be gender-based. It’s a different organisation with different norms.
    • and thirdly keep a diary or record of his own personal reactions to the change – what challenges him, where he’s surprised and so on. Do it daily and look back on it weekly.He could also maybe talk it over with you sometimes

    He’s lucky to have a coach


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