Do Women Make Better Managers Than Men?

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Lean in, ladies. According to a recent Gallup survey, employees who work for female managers in the U.S. are more engaged than those who work for male managers. Female employees who work for female managers are the most engaged, at 35 percent. Female employees who work for a male manager make up 31 percent. At 29 percent are male employees who work for female managers. Male employees who report to male managers are the least engaged, at 25 percent.

Female managers themselves also tend to be more engaged than their male counterparts, with Gallup finding that 41 percent of female managers were engaged at work, compared to 35 percent of male managers. This applies to female managers of every working-age generation, including ones who have children in their household. Managers who are more engaged tend to be more likely to contribute to their workplace's current and future success.How does Gallup measure employee engagement? They use the Q12, a 12-item survey that addresses specific elements of engagement that will predict employee and workgroup performance. The 12 Elements of Great Managing Are:

  • I know what is expected of me at work.
  • I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
  • At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  • In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
  • My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  • There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  • At work, my opinions seem to count.
  • The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
  • My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  • I have a best friend at work.
  • In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
  • This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.
Employees who work for female managers outscored those who work for male managers on every Q12 element but one. When it comes to setting clear work expectations, creating a positive team environment, as well as giving employees helpful feedback, recognition, and opportunities for career growth, female managers eclipse male managers.

As Lisa Quast warns in Forbes, the results of this Gallup study should not provoke a gender competition, nor a 'male versus female' attitude. Anyone can become a great manager, but the Gallup findings are suggesting that the engagement of female bosses should be taken into account when promoting people into management positions. Especially since Americans are still more likely to say they would prefer a male boss (33 percent) to a female boss (20 percent) in a new job.

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