When Male Managers Won't Work with Women

Oct 29, 2019

By Sunday Tollefson, MBA, PMP® 

Sixty percent of male managers now say they are uncomfortable participating in work activities with women - activities including  socializing, mentoring, and working one-on-one (Source: CNBC Make It: Closing the Gap: 60% of male managers now say they're uncomfortable participating in work activities with women).  In other words, they don't participate in work activities with women. By process of elimination, it is quite likely that these same managers DO participate in those work activities with men.

What happens when managers invest time in talent? Workers get better projects, better exposure to high level leaders, they are more likely to have executive ambitions, and are more exited about staying with the company. This is equally true for both men and women. 

What happens when workers don't get this attention? They don't get assigned to the better projects, they don't get exposure to leaders, they hold back and back off.  

Why is it a bad business decision to continue the status quo? Not only is it a terrible use of expensive recruitment spend, but also women tend to perform better, make teams more effective, and lift a more diverse work force up with them as they rise. Not to mention this little nugget: they make the company more money.  Stakeholders are served well by women leaders. What's not to love here? 

This has been ages in the making and will take decades to resolve, but we can start fixing it today. Choose one woman to help in some way, today, whether it's to tip her off to a special high-visibility project, share about an upcoming job opening, or introduce her to a senior leader she doesn't otherwise have access to. Maybe just help her revise her resume for her next leap. What other ways can you be part of the solution? 

You know what else? Let's demand that corporate management and boards of directors hire and promote women at every level. At the very least, we know that women managers - even if they aren't "comfortable" mentoring, socializing, or working one-on-one with men - will work with them.

© Sunday Tollefson

*Originally broadcast on Facebook's Inspired Success Community.



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