Only 23% of Americans Prefer a Female Boss
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Women are taking their place in the C-suite, and more Americans than ever are glad they are. A new Gallup poll says if Americans were taking a new job and had their choice, they would still prefer a male boss. But nearly one-quarter (23%) said they would choose to work for a woman, and that's the highest percentage since the survey began in 1953.
Interestingly, more than half of men (51%) said they had no preference.
Gallup says the proportion of Americans who prefer a female boss has increased by 18 percentage points over the past six decades, while there has been a 31-point decline in the percentage preferring a male boss.
Women exhibit emotional intelligence
Cheryl Eaton, a management professor at Marlboro College Graduate School in Marlboro, Vt., as well as the founder of Wild Genius, a branding and innovation group, believes the trend represents a positive change for the American workplace.
"Women are more likely to exhibit emotional intelligence in the work place and so are more likely to support the whole human as managers," Eaton says. "They are more apt to be human themselves -- show their emotions and their vulnerabilities, making them more approachable as managers. Women are more likely to collaborate themselves, and create a collaborative culture; reducing competition and making the workplace feel more safe."
There is an increasing demand for female executives, according to Kim Shepherd, CEO of Decision Toolbox, a recruiting firm based in Irvine, Calif.
"I have been seeing a softening trend in leadership in the workplace," she said. "More and more hiring managers have been slyly requesting managers 'in touch with their feminine side.' Leaders who can provide vision that comes from their hearts as well as their heads are coming into fashion."
And Shepherd believes there are even more reasons for the expanding trend.
"Women seem more apt at multitasking and bring a maternal element to their managerial role. With the emergence of social media, the workplace is becoming a more social place," Shepherd said. "Work-life balance is now a demand rather than a wish and female bosses are quicker to understand this dynamic."
The results are "rather alarming"
But Stacy Janicki, director of account management for Carmichael Lynch, an advertising agency based in Minneapolis, believes the results are "rather alarming," considering that more people would still rather work for a male boss.
"The current numbers may speak purely to what employees are conditioned to expect or what they've had the most exposure to," Janicki said. "While females are now evenly represented in the workforce overall, women are still under-represented on a leadership level."
"Employees often have many bosses over the course of their careers -- some good, some bad," she adds. "It is safe to assume they've had a disproportionate number of male bosses. If they've had less frequent exposure to female managers then, when a female boss fails to meet expectations, workers may make sweeping assumptions, based on gender, instead of just responding to that particular individual. With men, workers have enough experiences to form a bell curve of expectations against which male bosses are measured."