5 Mistakes Women Make when Leading Men

August 24, 2009

Feminine Leadership Part 3

You can read part 1 and part 2 before continuing.

1. Attempt to build a working relationship with men as if they are women

Men do compartmentalize their lives. It all runs together for us. Unless he’s willing to discuss personal stuff, don’t do it expecting him to be drawn in. If he mentions one of his kids upcoming birthdays, feel free to bring it up. If you start becoming too inquisitive on personal matters, you will be thought of as nosey.

2. Assume they have the same needs as women

Men feel motivated and empowered when they feel needed. Women are motivated and empowered when we feel valued. Giving men more breathing room to figure stuff out on their own will always work to your advantage. It is a leadership skill to figure out when to intervene. It will vary from person to person.

3. Mistake confrontation with directness

You have to be direct with men but not confrontational. Let’s say you have two direct reports, Andre & Jeff. You want Andre to format his work the way Jeff does.

Indirect – “Andre, I love how Jeff formats his reports.” Trust me, he won’t get it. Some women won’t get it either.

Confrontational – “Andre, why don’t you format your reports like Jeff?” Not only is this confrontational, it’s also emasculating. You are also pitting one man against the other.

Direct – “Andre, would you format your reports in this manner (describe it here)?” I wouldn’t bring Jeff into the discussion.

4. Take on a maternal role

This is a pet peeve of mine, your team members aren’t your children. Resist every temptation to mother your team. There are nurturing aspects women should bring to the job but never let it cross the line to babying your team especially in front of other higher powers.

5. Act like a male counterpart

This never works. I’ve sat in meetings where the head man cussed folks out, hit his fist on the table and was considered more the man for it. Women can’t play that card. Don’t think of it as a double standard (it is, but thinking of it will make you angry), rather think of it as your feminine advantage. A truly feminine woman can get more productivity out of a man than the manliest of men.

The above are things I’ve observed and studied over the past 20 years. The best books I’ve used to help learn how to lead men are dating books.  Wafting  through the ‘how to catch one’ aspects is necessary, but those books are filled with revelations of the male ego. “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”, by Dr. John Gray is probably the most famous of relationship books. It’s a good starting point.

Laurinda

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I'm Laurinda and I'm a Program Manager by day, Writer by night, Engineer by trade, Speaker sometimes & Christian always. I have a passion for leadership, wine, good friends & science fiction.

4 responses to 5 Mistakes Women Make when Leading Men

  1. wow! This is so true! great insight.

  2. These are terrific – and right on!

  3. John Finkelde June 10, 2011 at 4:11 am

    Great insight, really helpful as a man to read this