Study: Both Men & Women Don’t Want a Female Boss


female bossBy Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

Women have certainly come a long way in terms of getting rights in the work place and in society, in general. Even though women have come a long way, we can not forget that just a few years ago, when Mrs. Clinton ran for President, there were men who protested and held up picket signs that said “iron my shirt,” implying that she was better suited to do house chores than be the commander in chief.

Even though many women can earn their place as “the boss,” they still have many challenges that their male counterparts may not have. Just because they have the position, it does not guarantee that they will have the respect and cooperation of their subordinates.

Dr. Robi Ludwig, a contributor at TODAY, says,

“According to a few new studies. Three quarters of men said they would much rather work for a man than a woman. A quarter of women polled found their female bosses to be backstabbing and to have poor personal boundaries when it came to sharing their personal lives at the office. Another study found that female bosses were easily threatened, emotionally unpredictable or irritable. Other negative descriptors for the female boss included, “moody,” “sharp tongued,” “too cliquey” and “vain.””

As if that were not bad enough,  according to the American Management Association, 95 percent of women felt undermined at some point in their career by other women.

There is even a term that is commonly used to describe the female boss that nobody wants: Queen Bee Syndrome.

Says, Ludwig,

“The Queen Bee boss is the alpha female who tries to preserve her power at all costs. Instead of promoting her younger counterparts, she feels threatened by them, judges them, talks about them and, in many cases, ends up obstructing their attempts to climb the corporate ladder.”

Ludwig goes on to explain that the problem may not necessarily be the women in the leadership position who is the main issue, but how she is perceived.

She says,

“In some cases, women who reach the top, try to manage like men, yet it doesn’t work as well for them. Men can behave in a way found unacceptable in women. Loud, public directives from the female boss is often interpreted as nasty or offensive. For men, this is not always the case. Perhaps this is because women are expected to be more maternal and interact on a more personal and intimate level.”

Another issue that Ludwig points out is that women are taught, from a young age, that being young and attractive is what makes them valuable so they may see younger women as a threat. Men don’t have this problem because they are valued at every stage of their life and may even be more valued in the workplace as they get older. “There are a lot of older men in top positions who are considered at the top of their game, ” says Ludwig.

So, what is the solution? Says Ludwig,

“I believe as more options become available to women and the workplace continues to expand, female bosses will find their own confident niche. They’ll even become the nurturing, supportive bosses that social theorists always believed they could be.”

Nomalanga helps Black Women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , Assistant Professor of Professional Studies and the reigning Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s Facebook page or Follow her on Twitter



  1. Agreed! I prefer male supervisors. I have actually had arguments, with female supervisors due to being repeatedly lied to, thrown under the buss, bullied and pushed around by my female boss. I would take working for a man ANY day over a woman.

    • She'sNotTheBossOfMe on

      I have to agree with you at some point. I was thrown under the buss by my Stupidvisor and the Menacing Manager and they’re both females. Sad state of affairs when you work with bullying ass so-called women leaders.

      I consider a boss to be the owner of a company and the one that pays you a paycheck. Managers, Supervisors etc., are nothing more than a person that runs a unit and makes more money than you. I don’t have a boss, just co-workers who can be replaced just as well as I can be replaced. I don’t like bullies that think that they can control your every move either. No way would I call them my “Boss”.

      God is my Boss.

  2. It is not just women, but a white woman working over a blackman is that absolutely worst possibly situation. The majority of time she either wants to sleep with him, or dominate him either way it usually does not bode well for the blackman.

    At least when a man is supervising another man no matter how racist that he is there is a line that he won’t cross (unless the subordinate man lets him), but with white women they will push it as far as they can until something bad happens and than they play dumb.

    • I am a white female supervisor. I work with a man from west Africa who tries to gain power over me through mind games. I have never bullied him but now I’m considering on “running him off” instead of having him fired. His stupid ass don’t deserve unemployment.

  3. Give me a man any day. Women bosses, I have found are cliquey. They have their little groups and that’s who gets the perks.

  4. Female bosses are bottomless. Especially if they are lesbians. They see the position as an opportunity for revenge. They are more prone to intentionally cross the boundry of disrespect than a man because a female cannot lose her womanhood. She can be a prostitute or a president & she is always a woman. A man, however has to earn & keep his Manhood. Men are held accountable for their actions.

  5. In my exercise at work, I have had women saying they would rather work with men rather than working with fellow women. They told me it’s just difficult to work with their fellow women (“The female attitude thing”). I work in the IT (Information Technology) Industry as a Systems Engineer and there are not a lot of women in the areas of Technology.
    I think what is hurting female bosses is that, they always feel they have something to prove and so there for they have to portray strength to prove that women are not weak and in the process of doing this they forget about their duties and tend to go overboard. They have to learn how to manage others (people) in the work place it’s not about you as a female it’s about the position you are holding and how you go about carrying out your duties. If you do that you gain respect in the work place and those who work under you.
    Case in Point, this is just by coincidence (I am not making this up): I was in Star bugs coffee shop in the early hours, there comes a female (black) I happen to listen to her conversation on the phone with no intention on my part but she was so loud at the time. She was telling the person on the other end that the people at work dislike her as the supervisor because she is always in their faces. Listening to this, I said to myself how can anyone like you if the people that work under you are doing their job & you are in their faces every minute of the day just because you are the supervisor.
    To me she is an example of an overzealous supervisor and do not have human management skills, she is there to prove something that is a strong female which is so unnecessary.

    • Mali-Ma, I am also a Systems Engineer and couldn’t agree with you more. In our field anyway, it seems there is a competition to prove you aren’t “one of those female IT people”, better than, etc…. I refuse to work for women now. It’s a male-dominated field for sure and that could be part of the competition some seem to have.

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  9. The absolute worst bosses I have had have been women, and the worst of the worst have been black women. Not only do they over-compensate and go way off the deep end trying to prove they are as tough as men, they take everything personally and go on personal vendettas against whomever they perceive has done them what they consider to be wrong. Women don’t seem to understand that it is not personal, it is business, and that you cannot be a leader and not be able to handle disagreements and criticism. Men can disagree about business, leave the meeting, and go get a beer at the corner bar later. Women disagree and it becomes WWIII replete with carpet bombing and drone strikes. Give me a man any day.

  10. I think what it is, is that people want it both ways with women: The adoring mother and the Queen Bee. That is a lot of pressure on the boss, especially if she has “higher ups”.

    I think lots of young people are more open to it than before, but there is still a perception of not having confidence in female leadership. We know historically, that is not true, there have been many female leaders. But for Americans, our culture is biased against that. In fact we are misogynistic.

    What can be done? I don’t know, but as a “boss” for my business, I am determined to see its success and only finding those who do see my vision.

  11. Its funny that SS88 said that. Because I am a Black man myself and my boss is a Black Woman and she has to be one of the worst bosses ever. I just started this job on January 15th of this year and already 2 girls that worked under her already quit. I sit in my cubicle and I see all the snickering and bickering amongst the ladies in the office and all of it is about my boss. I tried to give her a chance and I was saying to myself she can’t be that bad but she does some of the craziest things and now I’m second guessing her leadership in this dept. She says one thing and then forgets and then when I go to correct her on what she told me to do she goes into this “I Must defend myself mode” and starts the sarcasm and slick talk and belittling someone. All male bosses I had we clicked and we rarely bumped heads, white or black it didn’t matter. Women do bring a lot of personal issues to the workplace and they don’t know how to shield it and keep it from entering the work force. It’s nothing wrong with showing you have power but if you don’t know how to manage your own power then what good is it. In this case if you cant keep no one to work for you then what good are you to the company? Just my 2 cents.

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  13. 20 years experience since graduating college and I have worked for female bosses twice.

    They are the absolute worst bosses to work for: Cliquey, immature, too emotional and think the world owes them. And lazy too…

    Please let me work for a male boss in future!

  14. I’ve worked for two female bosses so far and to say that I am unimpressed is an understatement. Catty, immature, emotional, you name it. One of them was a woman in her late 40s and if she and I had a disagreement she would literally not speak to me at all for the rest of the day at least. Not a word. But if you were on good terms with her you could stand there and talk about non-work-related things all day long instead of working and she would be fine with it.

    For a lot of women bosses I think emotion substitutes for logic or at least they are a LOT more emotional than logical which is the opposite of how a boss should be. I don’t really think this (women being terrible bosses) is an issue that can be overcome. I think it is just something that is part of being female. Just as a 250-lb. man isn’t biologically cut out to be a jockey, no matter how much he may advocate and agitate to be given the chance to be one, a woman normally isn’t cut out to be a boss no matter how equal a country’s rights are.

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  16. enlightenedchild on

    I’ve had a number of female bosses (i.e. supervisors) over my career in the telecom industry. It seems like they’re the only ones who want to take the job. Most of the men would rather be technicians. They can make more money, and not have to take the job home with them. It seems that women love to hold supervisory jobs, even if they’re unqualified for the position. Most men would not want to supervise a bunch of male technicians if they knew nothing about the job (i.e. what the techs were doing, workload distribution, job hazards and so on, etc.). Most men I know would rather come up through the ranks of technician, learn what they do, then try for a promotion to supervisor. At least that way they won’t feel uncomfortable trying to communicate to their technical workforce. But a female on the other hand, would take a technical supervisor job in a heartbeat, just for the promotion (or just to be a “boss”). I’ve seen it before. She could have no technical background whatsoever, and could care less. She’ll get on the job and start acting like she knows what she’s doing, and telling people to do extra work that they can’t handle. When people try to explain and push back, she goes into this “I’m the boss” attitude and tries to make them do it anyway or threaten disciplinary action against them. She could care less that nobody likes or respects her. And she’ll stay there defiantly just as long as she can until she gets so many complaints that her manager finally moves her to another department. I’m speaking from over 20yrs experience in technical fields. And as I’ve said, most men wouldn’t even apply for a supervisor or managerial position in a technical field they knew nothing about, out of self-respect. Because they know what they’re about to be up against. But I’ve noticed over 20yrs that women don’t care. They seem to think that as long as they’re the “boss,” everybody will just have to fall in line and see things “my way.” Well it doesn’t work like that. You can’t ‘micromanage’ a technician, unless you want to create bad morale in your department. Most techs work as though they are independent contractors. They’re highly trained and highly skilled, and they know their jobs. You can’t come in treating them like they’re mailroom clerks, no matter what your position is. They can make or break your department. You should use tact, wisdom and professional courtesy when dealing with your employees (especially employees who know the job, and you don’t). There was one female supervisor who really GOT IT. She didn’t come in overbearing and bossing people about. She showed a degree of humility (for coming to a department that she knew nothing about) and individual respect to her workers. It took her a couple of years, but she actually learned the technical side of the job pretty well, well enough to communicate effectively to her workers and other departments. If I reflect upon all of my supervisors throughout my career in telecom, I would have to say that she was the best supervisor I’ve ever had. I respected her on the job and off the job. I even attended her daughter’s college commencement ceremony. And this was a BLACK female supervisor. I’m only emphasizing that she was black because many of the worse supervisors I’ve ever had happened to be black female supervisors. Even other black women didn’t want to work for them (that’s how bad they were). So this supervisor was a ‘one-in-a-million.’ I haven’t seen another good black female supervisor since. She had people skills, she respected her workers as fellow human beings, and she didn’t over-compensate trying to play the ‘tough’ woman thing. She worked hard to learn the technical side of the job. We saw that and we appreciated that. And she was extremely competent with the admin side of the job. So you couldn’t do anything but like her. To bad she was a one-in-a-million. My message to female “bosses” (supervisor and managers alike), CHILL OUT, respect your people, drop the big-tough-girl attitude, don’t micromanage your employees (except the incompetent ones…and you should try to get them out of your department anyway), give positive feedback when warranted, and ‘constructive’ feedback in private. And try to learn the technical side of the job to some degree to more effectively communicate with your employees. Last, but not least, treat them the way YOU WANT to be treated. This will go a long way in changing the negative stereotypes against female “bosses” … especially black female bosses. Peace

  17. guys from my experience working with females is just a pain.they want to eat their cakes and have it.please don’t even work with an Indian or Pakistani woman if you re black cos they ll ruin you .i have had too many terrible experiences.they will whine over anything ,suppress you ,and when you react , they will look for every means to subdue you.they may get the girls scout against you,and even turn other male colleagues against you.finally land you in a disciplinary room.its just terrible.

  18. An inconsistent, manipulative person is an inconsistent, manipulative person regardless of their gender. I have had both male and female supervisors and there are been both good and bad bosses. The genders of my bosses had nothing to do with how I viewed their management styles-Some were good and others were bad. My current supervisor is a white male and he is by far the worst boss I have ever had in my life. He has overtaken two other bosses I thought were horrible and I didn’t think they could be topped (they were both white women). I’ve had other white male bosses and they have been okay. The best boss I ever had was a woman but I’ve only been working since I was 15. I’m 44 now and the only thing that has remained constant is the fact that the majority of the ‘bad bosses’ I have had never did my job before they became my supervisor and have little or no management training under their belt and are impulsive, insecure and rely on mind games to confuse and hinder their employee’s development and success.

  19. I am a 32 year old white female who manages a prodominantly african american female work place. I am not like what I have read but still do not get the respect or productivity out of the same employees that worked for a previous older white male. It is becoming very tiredsome.

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