“I don’t want to have a female boss”
“Female bosses are wicked.”
You have probably heard this said a number of times or even said it yourself. When I was a lot younger and I would say, ignorant, I believed this too, even without having a female boss. You know how stereotypes are cemented into our systems that we find ourselves subconsciously acting based on the belief. Sometimes, we don’t even have any personal experience but because it is said, we believe it and run with it. Now, I ask questions and I think for myself. And now, I have discovered that sometimes, female bosses are not mean, they are just misjudged.
Before you get all defensive, I do agree that there are some female bosses who are naturally mean and wicked, but I have also come to realise that they are not mean because they are women, they are mean because they are just mean human beings. And humans come in different shapes and sizes; the good, the bad and the ugly. Wickedness is not a special reserve for women, while having a kind heart is not tied to being a man. Anybody can be mean and anybody can be kind, irrespective of their gender. What I have discovered is people are simply uncomfortable with a woman in a leadership position and exhibiting leadership qualities.
We agree that leaders should be kind, sensitive and empathetic but we also agree that leaders are assertive, determined, inspire accountability, strong, passionate, driven, self-assured, bold, decisive, tough, and don’t shy away from necessary confrontations. Sadly, while we know all these, these are qualities that are applauded in men and condemned in women. It may seem flattering when people say, “well, women are supposed to be soft because they are naturally created to be soft, that is why people expect so much from them.”
No people, there is nothing flattering about shaming a woman for her personality and ability to lead. It is patronising. There is no one-size-fit-all for women just like there isn’t for men, so if a woman has leadership qualities, it should not come as a surprise or termed negative. Your female boss might not be mean; she is probably just fulfilling her role in making sure her team performs to the best of their ability. People, in general, take leaders who are not assertive and are scared of confrontation for granted. But when your female boss is doing all these and you term her wicked, then you might want to try to be a little fair.
Would you have condemned those same attributes in a male boss? So ask yourself this, is your boss really mean, or you are simply seeking for someone to accommodate your excesses?