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    Friday, June 25, 2004

    Managing Women: There's a discussion thread in my family practice management list-serve about how difficult it is to manage women employees. And, this may come as a surprise, all of the discussants so far have been women. They all agree unanimously - managing women employees means a lot of handholding, a lot of tiptoeing around feelings, and a lot of refereeing of interoffice spats. In short, it's like managing children. Small children.

    That sounds sexist and offensive, I know. Which is probably why only the women on the list-serve have felt comfortable discussing it. Significantly, no one has argued the opposite.

    I hate to admit it, but this has been my experience, too. Even when I was in an employed position, the problems with an all-woman workforce were far too apparent. In all of my jobs there have been problems with back-biting, too easily hurt feelings, the tendency to turn a small problem into an insurmountable one. And I've got it now in my own office. I hired a third person to take some of the pressure off the front desk, but two of them aren't getting along. And it only seems to be on Mondays. One says something grumpy and the other one comes to me immediately tattling on her. Ugh. If they were my children I would bark at both of them, "Knock it off." And they would. They would knock it off. But I can't do that. And I shouldn't have to. I shouldn't even have to do a polite version of it.

    I've never seen this sort of behavior among men. Not that they're perfect, or that they always get along with one another. They just seem to be able to deal with differences and disagreements in ways that don't interfere with getting the job done. Which is why I always sneer at that feminist trope about how much better the world would be if women were in charge. If my job experience, and the experience of those on my list-serve are any indication, it would be one large cess-pool of dysfunction.

    posted by Sydney on 6/25/2004 08:50:00 PM 0 comments


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