Women In Power: Yes, They Are Different From Men
Even if women are successful, acceptance among their male peers is not easy, argues Dr. Jean Lau Chin, Professor in the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY.
"For some men, a woman CEO is a threat to the status quo and the historical dominance of men in these positions," says Chin, who has written a book on the topic of women in leadership roles. "This triggers negative reactions associated with loss of privilege or power. For others, the perceived lack of fit between "leader" and "woman" violates social beliefs about what is right or what is normal."
In the end, whether women use power differently than men is not really the issue, says Emma Sinclair, who is CEO of Target Parking, a three year old business in the United Kingdom that manages auto parking facilities.
"I don't think it's fair to stereotype in a business environment," says the 35-year-old Sinclair. "You've a vested interest in success. I think that styles across both sexes are pretty practical."
But Sinclair, who had a career in mergers and acquisitions before starting her own firm, acknowledges that no matter how accepted women are in business, a meeting with the male mind is hard to find.
"I recall being in a crowd of male bankers when I was a junior banker," explains Sinclair. "We were having snacks and they were talking about their big deals. I was inclined to say 'How are you' or 'What did you do on the weekend?"
Frustrated, Sinclair concluded it was difficult to bridge the gap with her colleagues.
"I thought it was unnecessary to chat about who was working the hardest," explains Sinclair. "Perhaps men are more inclined to assert their credentials whereas women feel less of a need to prove themselves and just get the job done."