When Bennington surveyed over 700 executive women, over half said they would not choose a boss based on gender. But of the 44 percent who reported a preference, 32 percent said that they would rather work for a man. Their three top reasons were:
1. Men are more direct. Survey respondents were especially critical of female bosses who avoid uncomfortable conversations, take everything personally, are poor delegators, or are easily distracted.
2. Men are less competitive. This does not mean that men are less ambitious than women, but that men treat competition as routine while women are likely to see it as unfair or unjust.
3. Women are too emotional. The propensity of many women to cry under stress is not a sign that they are irrational or unstable. It reflects a physiological reality: Women have six times as much prolactin, a hormone associated with tear production, as men. Additionally, women’s tear ducts are twice as large as men’s.
By being aware of these issues, women can start to effectively address them. In particular, they can work on communicating clearly, openly, and directly, stop viewing others’ success as a threat, and be prepared for emotional reactions. These simple strategies will allow women’s leadership strengths to outshine their supposed — often exaggerated — weaknesses.