Tag Archives: alpha males

Most people prefer male bosses

The majority of employees prefer male bosses.

And that despite years of  anti-discrimination legislation and diversity training, and women generally doing better than men at university.

But in a widely reported survey of 3,000 people by  UKjobs.net, three-quarters of the men interviewed said they preferred a male boss –  and so did two-thirds of the women!

Male bosses were seen as more straight forward, better at “steering the ship”, more focussed on the long-term vision and less likely to have hidden agendas.

Female bosses were criticised for having mood swings and bringing personal problems to work, being overly competitive, and spending too much time on their appearance. (Appearance is important and a subject I have posted on before: “Impression Management“)

Women on the other hand were considered better at delegating, at giving praise, and at listening, so it wasn’t all bad news. Nevertheless the majority of people seem to prefer male bosses.

This is not the kind of thing that goes down well in politically correct circles of course and you can imagine what Harriet “Harperson” would make of it. Several columnists also got their knickers in a twist with Barbara Ellen in the Guardian saying women who said these thing should be ashamed of themselves; “We’re doomed if most women want a male boss”.

She does however make a valid point; “the boss thing is not a gender issue – it is a personality issue”. I posted on this a while ago asking; “Do you have what it takes to be a leader?” and I have also had a go at so-called Alpha Males in the past.

I also wonder just how much influence Emotional Intelligence (EI) is having on the current crop of managers. Women are more at risk of stress in high pressure jobs it seems and also can’t afford to be too nice as more aggressive women will compete with them – a point made in the survey about women managers over-compensating. So they are not seen as managing their emotions – one of the core competencies of  EI.

On the other hand the positives that women were recognised for in the survey related to other EI competencies eg empathy and relating to others, yet these strengths were disregarded in favour of what might be seen as the less flexible (in management style), straight-ahead approach that male managers are perceived to have.

So what is going on? Do women really prefer to work for men? Some said that they thought they could be a better manager than their present female bosses so why would they rather work for man?  Is it “imposter syndrome“, believing they are not deserving, because I don’t see assertiveness being a problem amongst women these days?

More recently a survey in America confirmed this tendency. A survey of legal secretaries found that, although almost half had no preference either way, not one of the 142 questioned actually had a preference for working for a female partner.

Another informal survey found that almost 7 out of 10 men said they preferred to work for a man. Even more women (3 out of 4) said they preferred to work for a man.

Only a third of men and a quarter of women said they preferred to work for a woman.

See the full article on these surveys


Alpha males – Everything is their fault

Whether it’s football or business alpha males are taking a kicking.

The French have already blamed the Premier League for turning their players into “over-paid egos” and Michael Ballack made a similar point before the game against Germany saying English players had to lose their egos and their narcissistic “me, me, me” attitude for the sake of the team.

In The Times(1/7/010) Germany’s twice-scoring Mueller is reported as saying “alpha males cost England”. He said the alpha male culture has destroyed team camaraderie and there is a surfeit of leaders (witness Terry’s failed coup d’etat). “… there are so many alpha males and you don’t just need chiefs you also need indians. Are the players willing to go the extra mile for their team-mates?” he asks. And in the same newspaper the French have described their team as; “rotten, spoilt, brats”.

And who can disagree. The sight of England players being molly-coddled with their top of the range earphones, game boys and special sleep pillows as they arrived, then being shepherded back in black glass vehicles like visiting VIPs to avoid meeting the public rather than as a shamed national team. At least the French made their team fly back second class!

18 months ago Management Today featured a couple of interesting articles. Baroness Kingsmill (some may think her a slice short of a full loaf of course) predicts the end for Alpha Males ie “people who think work-life balance is for wimps and women”  and who are “insulated by their egos,,, have no self-awareness” and “see feedback as a personal attack”.

In other words sociopathic and without emotional intelligence.

On a similar note in the same journal Emma de Vita bemoans the testosterone fuelled culture in the city and suggests women could fix things “pooper scoopers in hand”. Amongst her polemic she makes some interesting points about leadership styles and cites some research at London Business School that found that having a 50-50 gender balance produced more effective, stable and innovative teams; a finding that the Norwegian government  put into practice in January.

In Norway all public companies are required by law to have 40% of females on the board and Spain has given companies 10 years to follow suit. France is currently considering a 40% quota as well an increase from the current 10% (similar to that in the UK). See: http://www.managementtoday.co.uk/news/865053/