Post by Jane K. Stimmler, contributing Women on Business writer
Over the years, I have too often heard women say they would rather work with men than with women. That women are catty, jealous, exclusionary. That men are “easier” to work for and with. Many years ago, a secretary who was assigned to me – I was the only female manager in my company at the time – dissolved into tears right in front of me. When I asked her what was wrong, she told me (between sobs) that it was humiliating to be working for a woman. I’m not making this up! And, while I have had my share of women colleagues and bosses whose styles and personalities clashed with my own, I can honestly say that my best working relationships have been with women.
Recently I met a woman with whom I’ve had a long distance working relationship for months over the phone and through email. When we saw each other, we smiled, said hello – and spontaneously gave each other a “so great to finally meet you” hug. There’s a warmth and appreciation among women colleagues that’s hard to describe. Maybe it’s because we speak the same language based upon our unique challenges and barriers – and therefore understand each other on a deeper level.
Sometimes it seems like women are on one team – and the men are somewhere else entirely. I’ve been in a number of meetings where it seemed like the men had a completely different experience and perspective from the women who were there. The men left the room thinking one thing – and the women’s view was quite another! We women ended up shaking our heads in bewilderment at the situation.
Women also tend to have styles that are more compatible with one another. I’m one of those “organized” women with detailed lists – in writing and in my head. I notice that my women colleagues, even the ones who aren’t quite so Type A, intuitively understand and respect this attribute. And, when two Type A female’s team up – look out. The project will be so well thought out and it will run so smoothly it’ll make your head spin.
Don’t get me wrong – there are colleagues and clients of both genders with whom I have productive and enjoyable relationships. But there is something to be said for the power of women working together. It’s just special.
What has your experience been? Please share!