That is an excellent question. An even more excellent (sic) question is whether one’s capacity to be a great boss depends on the type of genitalia they own. But let’s keep it simple, shall we? Otherwise we won’t be able to tap into the rich stereotypes that make articles of this kind engaging.
I’m sure you all have your own take on this matter and that is of course perfectly fine. We all prefer to imagine that our personal experiences are more or less the norm for everyone. It’s much easier to decide that our horrible boss is just horrible because they are women or men, and not that they are fairly unique individuals who suck at bossing for a whole network of complex reasons.
Before my illustrious career as an international freelancer and tamer of beasts, I too have worked under my share of appalling bosses and I have to admit that the one female boss that I had, really stands out in the list of shitty people. Although to be fair, I don’t believe it had to do so much with the fact that she was a woman, but rather with the fact that she was an already monstrous person trying to impress her daddy and owner of the company.
Now, stereotypes want women to be better communicators, possessing much stronger multitasking skills and more patience. Also, they are commonly viewed as better adjusted to work codes and ethics, while at the same time being more accepting of emotional reactions from their employees.
Male bosses, on the other hand, give employees, as well as work matters, their complete attention, focusing on each one individually and within the bounds of good judgement and practicality. At the same time their genetic predisposition to aggression makes them better suited to leadership roles when it comes to pulverizing competition.
So pretty much, men are viewed as cool headed, stern-but-fair workplace metal gods, whereas women are considered overachieving, patient-but-chatty spirits of business, that can juggle many challenges at once, while at the same time lending tissues. Right of the bat, you can see what’s wrong with the above statements. How do you measure patience?
Or for that matter, how do you measure responses to emotional situations? Or abstract concepts like practicality? For the most part these claims are just arbitrary, meant to comfort us and help us make sense of a much, much more complex world. They should not be taken at face value.
There are many attributes and skills that make someone a good boss and you can be sure that their sex is not even in the top ten. Ours is a deeply unfair and sexist society, so it makes sense that many women who ascent the corporate ladder take on the worst aspects of their male counterparts.
But this is not a problem of sex; it is a problem of deeply ingrained weaknesses in our work ethics and our frame of reference when it comes to producing wealth in general. A better boss is simply someone who possesses all the distinguishing characteristics of a skilled, sane and humane person, at least for most of the time. In the end, you can own a penis or a vagina, but by themselves they don’t make you any more or less of an asshole.