Management Tips For Women: Confront, Confront ... Praise

By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

The New York Times has an interesting post on women as corporate managers. Reporter Adam Bryant interviewed, condensed, and then posted parts of a chat with Carol Smith, senior vice president and chief brand officer for the Elle Group, the media company. In it she talks about managing employees and has found in her own experience that winning them over is more effective than bossing them around:

"In the end I think that if you win people over, they'll follow you. And of course you need other qualities, like honesty, decisiveness and the ability to confront. I'm a really good confronter.

Q. What do you mean by "confronter?"

A. I have been in this career for many years and I have seen, and this is a generalization, that women are better list-makers. They will do their to-do list. They will prioritize their to-do list. They will get through their to-do list. Maybe it's because we do shopping lists. And if we have a problem--again, as a generalization--we will confront the problem and deal with it head-on.

I am definitely a list-maker, but I'm not sure I'm a confronter. I'm not referring to this job blogging for, where I am a contractor rather than a manager. But at my own nonprofit TV production company, I manage three full-time workers and two contractors. I will confront at times, but only when I've put it off so long I'm about to blow my stack--not an advisable managerial trait.

The most important thing I remember from working full time for other people earlier in my career is to praise whenever it is merited. One cannot praise too often, because even if it feels to an employer as if he/she is praising a lot, it always feels to the employee as if the employer is not praising enough.

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By Bonnie Erbe