This week we continue the serialization of, How (NOT) to Be a Leader Volume 1, in preparation for the release of the next two books, How (NOT) to Build a Great Team and How (NOT) to Create a Winning Strategy. We hope you will enjoy Chapter 23 – Gender Matters
Sent: Wednesday, May 3 at 10:00 am
To: Matt L.
Subject: Strategic Plan Due Soon …
Hi there Matt,
Hey buddy! I wanted to give you a gentle nudge that your Q1 plan is due to me soon. The original deadline was Friday but I know you’ve been a busy guy so how about you try to get it to me by next Wednesday? Does that work for you? I really feel for you with all the pressure you’ve been under, you sure are handling it like a champ. As usual! 😉
Let me know if you need even more time. If you do, I can figure something out on my end. Hope to see you today, been missing having you around since you’ve been working from home more. If you need help, let me know, I’m happy to swing by your house one evening after work—I’ll bring the wine!
Sent: Wednesday, May 3 at 10:02 am
Subject: Your Strategic Plan is Late
Get it to me by the end of the day.
When leading, employ the personality and style that are required for the situation. When dealing with men and women, it’s completely okay to treat them differently. This is just good, solid leadership. Adapting to the situation. Being a versatile leader with chameleon‑like qualities is admired and revered. Don’t let any nerdy HR person tell you otherwise.
Woman to woman: Woman to woman management needs to be firm, direct, and devoid of any kind of emotion whatsoever. This is your best defense mechanism against what will forever be true: women are bitches! They are not going to like being managed by you simply because you are a woman, so meet them head-on in the bitchscape of the professional environment and you’ll avoid a lot of trouble. Plus, you know they want your job, so never let them see you sweat and always watch your back.
Woman to man: Get creative here ladies. Use all God gave you to get what you want. Dress appropriately when asking a male superior or subordinate for something. If you’ve got the gams, show ’em! If you’ve got a full rack, let it shine! Don’t cover up your gifts in some bulky, work‑appropriate attire. That’s not how leaders dress. Make them think there is more package to be opened if only you get what you want. Who made the rule that trading sex for promotions is off-limits? It’s what leaders do. Lead them on, play the game, and above all else, use your sexuality to work the room and the situation.
Man to woman: This is fun, isn’t it boys? You get to play hide the pickle with no consequence, assuming that the woman in front of you really wants something. If men were meant to ignore women’s sexuality, all men would all be eunuchs, and we know that’s not the case. So, get in the game. Depending upon how good looking the woman is and what she wants, make her pay. It’s a game of cat and mouse, and you’re a dirty tomcat. If she lets you catch her, she’s in the game too so no harm, no foul. And by the way, it’s perfectly okay to make any woman that works for you your work wife. Every good male leader needs one.
Man to man: This is the most boring. Just treat him like any Joe Blow off the street. Unlike women, guys have few feelings, so you’re not going to step on them. If you tell him to go to hell, depending upon his rank, he probably will. If it’s a superior, kiss his ass, literally. They love it.
Let’s Get Real
Good leaders do not use their gender or sexuality to get what they want. Male or female, they use their natural talents to move the organization or mission forward, regardless of gender. They respect everything that each person brings to the table, and they leverage it appropriately.
Unfortunately, there is a double standard in business today: many women leaders are parroting the sexist behavior of the men they despise. These lady leaders, usually the loudest and most annoying critics of male sexist behavior, are engaging in it themselves in the exact same way: doting on male employees, softening their message or their tone, and extending preferential treatment to that hot, hunky middle manager while silently and brutally attacking his female counterpart through intimidation, fear, and downright nastiness.
Let’s be clear: we’re not suggesting that you deny the fact that men and women are different, possess different natural skills, and engage in different communication styles. Not recognizing this fact very well may be the overcompensation that has led to the oh‑so‑slow rise of women in leadership. Women will never be men and men will never be women and struggling to treat them in the exact same way may stifle both parties’ true potential.
If you are a woman leader, introducing your gender into the mix in a way that is manipulative or as obvious as Christine’s blunders in the emails above is sexist at best, and it is as demeaning to men as Don Draper’s attitude is to women. The salt in the wound is then assuming the role of Queen Bitch with your female employees. By showing them your icy side, you’re only asking for the same (and most likely worse) ice storm to come your way.
Gender matters because gender diversity in the workplace is one of our greatest opportunities to have a strong, 360-degree approach to strategy, customer insight, and people management. But be smart and leave your insecure self behind.