What Does it Take To be a Great Woman Boss?

Would you rather work for a woman or a man? “The Conversation: Male Vs. Female Bosses, on Forbes.com (April 2010) references several studies, one showed 90% of women surveyed preferred male bosses. I’ve been contemplating women in leadership roles since I watched the movie, “The Next Three Days” this weekend.  It began with two women bantering about whether it is better to work for a male or a female boss. One of the women in the movie was later accused of killing her boss.

I’ve known many women who have been held back, stifled, stressed and emotionally abused by female bosses. I’ve experienced both good and bad female bosses and I’ve been a female boss. From studying leadership and coaching women executives to gain promotions in high-powered organizations, in my opinion, a good woman boss possesses several qualities:

She knows herself well, she views herself as a leader and she’s found her edge — she’s authentic and has a vision about what kind of environment she wants to create for herself and her staff.  If she worked her way up the ranks she remembers what its like on the rungs of the ladder and she doesn’t expect her staff to balance her checkbook, pick up her dry cleaning, or bring her coffee. She creates a team atmosphere and pitches in when necessary to help get the job done. She rewards good work, listens, guides, and mentors — even if it means a valued employee gains a promotion and leaves her. She is politically astute, collaborates with colleagues and knows how to work within a system to get things done. She knows she’s a role model and she doesn’t hesitate to be an example of success in the workplace.

What do you think? Have you ever worked for a great or not so great woman boss? What leadership qualities do you think are necessary for women bosses to have to change this perception? I’d love your comments.