Friday, May 12, 2006

Are Mothers Better Managers?

Most employees think so. Most employers don't.

McKay says that good mothers understand that being a good parent means avoiding favoritism. Why, then, can't they also understand that a good CEO can't consistently demand that childless omen pick up the slack when mothers leave for the emergency du jour?

The highest stress levels on the job are found most commonly among women who work full time and who have children under 13, the World Health Organization says. But McKay says she has noticed that granting mothers special treatment never seems to end. Women with teens become active in such things as the prom committee. Women with adult children start to take on responsibilities of parenting grandchildren while their children embark on careers.

It might sound heartless and dictatorial, McKay says, but "the best leaders in my company have been the women with no children."

I found the article fairly balanced, and it addressed the fact that while there is no consensus on whether parenting makes you a better manager, there are many who feel that any benefit is countered by the distraction from the job.

They surmise that those who are patient and nurturing are more likely to be mothers, rather than necessarily being the other way around. Fortunately some point out that there are a lot of life experiences that can bring such benefits as time management skills.

I wonder why no one addressed that fact that while being nurturing might make you a more popular boss with your inferiors, it doesn't necessarily mean you're a better manager. Isn't a better manager largely determined by productivity?

The premise of this article might have seemed overly pro-natalist, but I thought their execution was fairly balanced.

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