We were joined by expert coach Roger Burrell in a Twitter Q&A, to discuss the differences between the management styles of men and women
ILM: We're joined for the next hour by expert coach Roger Burell. Will you start by introducing yourself?
RB: Hi I’m Roger, a business and leadership mentor and very much a male traveller in a woman’s world. Part of what I do is guide and support leaders/managers/business owners in creating a synergy between their left and right brains. This ultimately leads to increased individual/team/organisational performance and capabilities.
ILM: Do men and women really have different approaches to management, or is it really just down to the individual?
RB: A mix of both. Depends on individual as no one is absolutely one extreme or other in a masculine/feminine approach to leadership and management. In general men are more left brain dominant women right brain.
ILM: What does this indicate in terms of their management style? Broadly speaking, how do they differ?
RB: Men: dominant and aggressive to the extent of being pathological. Like process, structure and tangible facts: left brain: Women: nurturing, relationship-builders, supportive, intuitive, holistic, creative, subjective: right brain.
ILM: Is it wise for a woman to adopt the same management style as a man, if she's leading in a male dominated environment?
RB: No. It would be like wearing shoes a size too big/small: you can walk but it’s uncomfortable & everyone can see you struggle. Eventually you’ll stop to put on shoes your size that you can run in & your team will then run with you.
ILM: What advice would you give to these women then. How can they asset themselves in a more male dominated environment?
RB: I would suggest tapping into left brain but don't try & be someone you're not. Be strong. Don't back down, be the alpha female. Play your game not theirs. Remember the reasons why you're there! Masculine accept step-by-step process, feminine accept jumping around the process.
ILM: Often the differences in management style can lead to clashes. How can we find a balance and create a harmonious workplace for both?
RB: Conflict arises as neither side sees the benefit of doing it their way leading to breakdown in trust and performance. Feminine, if not following processes join the dots for masculine so they see how you got there. Accept masculine work method. Masculine trust your intuition which is to trust yourself. Sometimes it’s enough to know you know! Accept feminine work method
ILM: Do you agree that perhaps there's a danger of stereotyping managers with regards to gender though?
RB: Yes that is the old way. The transformational leader will forge a new, gender blind path. It is through using both brains, doubling your own performance that will see increased results and team performance.
ILM: Then there are some female leaders like Margaret Thatcher who used more of the left brain than the right – would you agree?
RB: Indeed she did as 30/40 years ago politics like business was extremely male dominated so she rightly used her left brain.
ILM: Do you think there are ways in which men and women can learn from one another?
RB: Absolutely. Observe how men and women interact with each other in more than just your work environment. Most importantly do not try to be someone you’re not or make overnight changes in your leadership and management style.
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ILM: Would you agree the best leaders utilise both sides of the brain & adapt their style to suit both a female & male environment?
RB: Absolutely. Leadership is situational so it is imperative to be adaptable, you'll soon break if not. You can adapt to the majority of the environ as well as when interacting one to one. Be consistent though or trust will be lost