Marie Claire (South Africa) - - @WORK - By Zanele Ku­malo @mis­szan

I HAVE ONLY EVER HAD ONE MALE BOSS. And I only re­ported to him for one year un­til he was re­placed by a woman. So you might think I don’t have the ex­pe­ri­ence to weigh in on whether women make bet­ter bosses. But I can say that I’ve never hoped to work for a man again, think­ing that they might do a bet­ter job.

Re­cently in The Guardian, lead­er­ship coach Gra­ham Rus­sell said he would much rather work for a woman. He said re­search from global con­sult­ing com­pany Gallup backs up his ex­pe­ri­ence. ‘It con­cludes that fe­male bosses are bet­ter [than male bosses] at en­gag­ing em­ploy­ees and are more likely to en­cour­age pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment and recog­nise good work.’ The study also found that ‘ em­ploy­ees who work for a fe­male man­ager in the US are ac­tu­ally more en­gaged on av­er­age than those who work for a male man­ager’ and con­se­quently are part of ‘high­er­per­form­ing work­groups’.

Most of my fe­male bosses en­cour­aged my de­vel­op­ment and asked about my goals and what they could do to help. They wanted to see me suc­ceed and gave me the tools to progress. Th­ese traits are key to cre­at­ing a sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment that is pos­i­tive and de­vel­op­men­tal, and where em­ploy­ees feel satis ed and pur­pose­ful.

I think, though, that in­stead of pit­ting two gen­ders against each other in the lead­er­ship stakes, we should high­light the qual­i­ties that make for an en­gaged, suc­cess­ful and in­spir­ing chief and hire and pro­mote ac­cord­ingly, re­gard­less of gen­der. And that’s what I hope to be for the peo­ple I cur­rently man­age on a small team. To be some­one who sees them as an equal, re­gard­less of their gen­der, and of­fers them the op­por­tu­nity to per­form at their best.

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