IT Employment optimize

Changing demographics require new leadership styles

The role of women in the organization is changing and the role of men in the home has shifted. John M. McKee explains why these changes are the beginning of a new model that will be with us for the next 100 years.

Your future has arrived…

...and your life is about to become a lot different.

For most of the history of the world, men have done the work that generated the family income while women did the work of having children, raising the family and creating community.

This model lasted because it worked: One could make plans for their life with confidence that things would stay pretty much the same.  As far back as 1810, the term "breadwinner" had become a popular term applied to men who made the income to support a family.

But today, by most indicators, that model is now finished. As a result, your "three lives" are going to be more greatly affected than at any time in modern history.  Regardless of what you do, it's highly unlikely to remain the same.  Wherever you work - you are about to witness a significant impact from this shift. However you see the world, be prepared for a massive re-think.

Men are starting to see what it's been like for women since the dawn of the industrial revolution.  Many aren't prepared for this shift.  Ask them and they'll say they believe that the single reason it's harder now is offshoring. While true to some extent, that perspective misses the socio-economic shifts that will be with us forever:

  1. According to current research, women now fill the majority of jobs in the US.
  2. Bloomberg reports that women now fill 51.4% of professional and managerial positions.  Another study showed that 60% of all Masters degrees are going to women.
  3. Twenty-three percent of men don't make as much as their wives.  Single women between the ages of 22 and 30 earned 8% more than men in that age group in most American cities.
  4. C Level moms are no longer remarkable.  In the IT sector, it became more common when we saw organizations like Hewlett-Packard, Xerox, EBay and Yahoo run by women who often had families as well as big jobs.  Women often manage differently than men.  Those organizations reflect that difference.
  5. Homes are now purchased twice as often by women than men.
  6. Single motherhood is now frequently a conscious lifestyle choice worldwide.  Futurist Faith Popcorn reports that a third of Japanese women in their 30s are unmarried.  Marriage has lost its status of mandatory life goal.
  7. Asians are leading the business trends toward more matriarchy with a third of Thailand's CEOs being women and China showing 34% of all senior management positions being held by the ladies.
  8. Catalyst Organization reported in December that in the US those organizations with higher levels of gender diversity in the boardroom outperform companies with zero board women by 84% on sales, 60% on invested capital and 46% on return on equity.

No organization or industry will miss these trends. Regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman they will impact both genders from now on. Women and men often manage differently.  Neither style is more "right" in every situation than the other - they're simply different.

Act accordingly.

John

Executive and Leadership Coach

About

John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion d...

15 comments
johnagno
johnagno

As more women enter the workforce, and many become the primary breadwinners, there is a structural shift taking place in organizations and households. Especially for these talented women, we have recently released a new self-coaching guide that passes on career success secrets as written by co-author Barbara McEwen and myself over the last three years. The concept of the book came about because of the very real, very important needs that our female clients repeatably expressed in their struggles with the countless roles and duties that are routinely placed on them. That is why Barb and I, as leading executive coaches of working women in North America, have a unique understanding of female perceptions that affect their work and home life challenges along with what approaches have worked well for our women clients. As you know, career women struggle with countless expectations, too much to do in too little time, and the fact that they receive little of the support or recognition they want and deserve. In an effort to squeeze even more into their nightmarish schedules, these women continue to make choices that actually undermine their health, family life, careers and important relationships. In the February 14, 2011 edition of The New Yorker magazine, Tina Fey wrote: "What is the rudest question you can ask a woman? How old are you? What do you weigh? No, the worst question is: How do you juggle it all? The topic of working moms is a tap-dance recital in a minefield. 'How do you juggle it all?' people constantly ask me, with a accusatory look in their eyes. 'You're screwing it all up, aren't you?' their eyes say. My standard answer is that I have the same struggles as any working parent but with the good fortune to be working in my dream job." Women are dancing to a frenzied beat, believing just because they can, they should. They have been taught, if they are capable of doing something, it shouldn't be necessary to look for help. This has led women to become frustrated by experiencing long days and frantic schedules. Many working women are exhausted. Isn't it time that career women reclaimed their time and life? Let's be clear, this new book isn't just for the dissatisfied. It is a prescription for identifying the various aspects of your life that make you unique, without which, you may never be able to understand why you behave or react the way you do. The book is neither relaxing nor a break from reality where the reader just rides along. It is a vehicle where the reader is in the driver's seat and sets the GPS to get to where she wants to be in her career and personal life. We would be pleased if you would consider reviewing this new book (order information below)..or...apply whatever magic you would bestow upon a book you liked. John "When Doing It All Won't Do: A self-coaching guide for career women" by Barbara McEwen & John G. Agno. Order the PDF ebook - Workbook Edition (ISBN-10: 0983586527) for only $12.99 (to view full-size on your computer screen or decide to printout locally) or order the paperback edition today on Amazon.com.

czekalca
czekalca

Did this article undergo a dramatic edit between your post and when I read it? An occasional vent is OK with most of us. However, your rant seems to have little to do with this particular article. As a woman with 20+ years in IT, I'm pleased to see that others are recognizing and discussing the differences that women make in a previously predominantly masculine environment. That's not an easy cultural shift, for women or men, for many reasons. Though I sadly agree with the concepts behind most of what you've said, I'm sure it didn't belong here, on this particular article. And, I'm pretty sure that John didn't deserve the vitriol you just spewed. So, please just take a breath and do something positive with those passionate beliefs. The world still needs passion and believers. Go forth and do good...

reisen55
reisen55

Demographics also require that any professional IT technician be able to sound and speak just like he or she is seated at a small cubicle in Bangalore, reading from a book, without much technical saavy, answering questions and then asking for an email survey when the problem is NOT solved anyway. I have personally mastered the accent after watching many Peter Seller movies.

jawaglen
jawaglen

The author did not answer the question of what the differences are between genders' management styles. In fact his declaration, "Men are starting to see what it???s been like for women since the dawn of the industrial revolution.", suggests strongly that the styles are the same. First men are in power and women feel "X," then women are in power and men feel the same "X." I would suggest the only difference for men is that there are now fewer jobs for men. Well, there is another difference and that is that women have had the ability to show that they are not all that different. Women are no more caring, as managers, than men are. In fact I hear from both men and women that female cops are very harsh at road stops. I also hear from women, especially, that female managers tend to be very harsh in the corporate setting. It might be that they are still trying to overcompensate to try to show they are good at their management. Some academic style studies need to be done on this issue.

mistanick
mistanick

I am so tired of authors trying to change truth. The old model of women caring for children while men earn the families income by the sweat of their brow is God's model for humanity as provided in the Bible. When we try to stray from that, society fails. When women's liberation began, the whole job market imploded. More people, men AND women began competing for the same job. Incomes generally lowered as there were many more people competing for the same job. Kids went into the tank as mom was not around to nurture them. Take a step back, is our world, our country a better place today then when men were the bread winners? I think not.

john.a.wills
john.a.wills

The word "sex" is derived from a root meaning "cut", from which we also get "sector", "secant" and probably a few other words. We cut the species into two sections or sexes, which are persistent conjugal strains; we can imagine that on some other world there might be a sectioning into more than 2 sexes. The word "gender" is derived from a root meaning "kind" or "race", also a kind of division; from the same root we get "genus". The word's principal proper use is in grammar, as a natural mapping of a noun to words or particles meaning he/she/it or the like. In English we have 3 genders, in Spanish 2. Because the English and Spanish genders have some parallelism to sex of the object the noun refers to, we call the genders in such languages by names paralleling the names for the sexes, but that need not be: in Swahili there are 8 genders, with no parallelism to sex; in SeSotho, I am told, there are 6; many African (technically, Niger-Kordofanian) and Australian languages have such sex-independent gender systems. Let us call sex "sex" and not be embarrassed about it.

CareerCoach
CareerCoach

Are you looking forward to the new reality?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Are you sure you wanted to address me? I'm not replying to John's original article; I'm replying to posts by mistanick. I frequently do disagree with John, but not in this particular case. As I said in the first reply to John at the top of the discussion, it doesn't matter to me whether I work for, with, or supervising women. I've seen too many incompetent men to care about the gender or other personal characteristics of someone who can get the job done. Well, maybe not Jimmie Johnson fans, but I gotta draw the line somewhere :D

jawaglen
jawaglen

I need to be clear that my comment does not suggest I am saying women should not be eligible for IT jobs or management jobs. Women should be able to apply for and do any jobs they are physically capable of doing. Re. jobs requiring only brains, there should be NO jobs locked out for them. My points were that: 1. The author did not indicate there are differences between male and female other than simply stating it; 2. One cannot state there are differences simply because the past suggests there are differences, because the past did not put women in positions equal to men so there could be a true analysis of the two styles of work or management; 3. Only if and when men and women have the full equality to do the same jobs and only after a period of time elapses in order to allow for culture to catch up, can a true unbiased analysis show sameness or difference; 4. Until now, no differences have been shown in regard to the amount of caring and gentleness of management styles; 5. So far, the fact that no true differences have been or can be shown, it does not indicate women should be locked out of jobs, it indicates women should NOT be locked out of jobs precisely because there have been no provable differences shown. 6. Statistically, I think the reasons for better productivity performance in companies hiring women in top positions is that those companies are using ALL the brain resources instead of 1/2 of the brain resources. 7. The statistics themselves do not prove differences of styles, just better use of resources. 8. If the statistics indicate clearly women think more clearly and they have a style of management that provably better manages, then women should be put into ALL management positions and men should become only laborers. Clearly, there is some problem with THAT interpretation of the statistics.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Fortunately, not everyone has the same outdated, repressive interpretation of that god and book. The author of the article is reporting statistics; he isn't trying to change 'the truth'. ("What is truth? Is truth unchanging laws? We both have truths; are mine the same as yours?") It's people that are making changes in the composition of the workforce. If the kids are suffering because someone isn't there to nurture them, let Dad stay home for a while. What, he isn't around because he's a deadbeat? More fathers walk away from their children than mothers, neglecting their breadwinner duties. Why aren't you ranting on about that, or is that covered under 'go forth and multiply'? Wait, that's probably women's fault; they're such temptresses. As to whether we're better off with women as bread winners, they've got to overcome 2000 years of male dominance. They've only been at fifty years or so; it takes time to turn that much inertia around. You may not think we're better off, but I'll bet most women do. Now hustle on off to Saudi Arabia. I'm sure you'll feel right at home; they arrest women for driving cars. Or perhaps one of the 'Stans, where rape victims are stoned for 'bringing dishonor on the family". Still beating your wife?

mdwalls
mdwalls

"Sex" reflects the biological equipment an individual possesses. People are classed accordingly, predominantly "male" or "female", but also some additional categories for the small percentage of the population who do not cleanly fall within those two. (Sex is sometimes assigned according to chromosome configuration, but this doesn't always neatly line up with anatomical classifications.) "Gender" in contrast is socially constructed and/or psychological, and has to do with the roles an individual plays (or aspires to play) within society -- including but not limited to "sexual orientation". It is also conditioned to a significant extent by social expectations, which can vary widely from one culture to another or even within a single culture based on factors such as class. The two concepts align for many individuals within a society, but clearly there is room for significant misalignments along several dimensions. I, for example, am a heterosexual male, which covers the primary alignments. But, because of type of work, hair length, Volvo-driving, and some other aspects of my lifestyle I no longer align very well with the concept of "being a man" that I grew up with in the rural South.

mistanick
mistanick

Palmetto, the sad thing is that now, it really does take two incomes to make the household work. Sad too to see women try to be like men, such as in their dress, butch haircuts, and now tatoos and piercings. What is next? A sexless society? I read today how a family in England chose to not tell their child or anyone else whether he was male or femaie, choosing to allow the child to decide that when he grows up. It is like a sink draining. Men, we have fallen for the trap and have become more limp wristed as the years go by, thus the rising prevalence in homosexuality. Men can't be men so they give up. Women don't want to be women so they become more masculine. What is to like about this ugly picture? Finally, Palmetto, anytime someone starts talking like I do, the liberal left call's it a "rant" whatever that means. So foolish. Yes, the future is here, and I am afraid our sins have made us ready for the consecquences.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

First, it doesn't take two incomes. My wife doesn't work, and we making our house, car, and utility payments without any trouble, take a couple of vacations a year, and stuff 9% into the 401K; all on a salary closer to 50K than 100K. What it takes is realizing that it isn't necessary to have the same toys as your friends and neighbors, realizing what you can and can't afford. Second, when did tattoos become the province of men? Both sexes have been sporting them since the early days of the Egyptian empires. Butch haircuts? Next you'll be telling me that long-haired men are trying to be like women. Are you seriously basing your evaluation of another person's masculinity or femininity solely on their personal appearance preferences and ever-changing social fashions? What do you want women to wear, burqas? Lingerie? Little black dresses? Should men all have crew cuts and overalls? Must I carry a sidearm, or will a sword suffice? There isn't a rising 'prevalence' of homosexuality, there's a rising visibility. There aren't more homosexuals; there's less social pressure for homosexuals to pretend they're not. But what does homosexuality have to do with the percentage of women in the workplace? What does it have to do with ANYTHING? "Men can't be men ..." According to who? Define what it means to be 'a man.' Working as the sole wage earner? As to the 'sweat of the brow', find me anyone who doesn't want better for his children. 'Sins' are a religious concept. Who's to say your definition matches mine, and which of us is right or wrong? Whenever anyone starts talking about sexual equality, the religious right starts jamming its beliefs down everyone's throats and selectively reminiscing about the good ol' days.