Common Mistakes Men Make When Managing Women

What are some of the biggest mistakes men make when managing women? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Christian McCarrick, VP of Engineering / CTO, on Quora.

My response to this question will be related to my personal experience of management at technology companies, which might be slightly different. In the Engineering groups of most tech companies there is a very high ratio of men to women (> 80 percent in some cases).

I also have three daughters and I can't stress how invaluable it has been in helping me to be a better manager.

Here are some mistakes that are made:

1. Not providing a safe environment. This does not have to specifically apply to women. As a manager/leader you have to set the culture and the guidelines for what is acceptable and not on your team. Screen savers of women in bikinis, having guys call each other female names "in jest" etc. should not be tolerated.

2. Treating women like "One of the guys." Assuming she is cool with going along with sexist antics or comments. In some case people will play along and seem "cool with it" but inside they are cringing.

3. Paying them less.

4. Not understanding the needs around pregnancy. This is an area that a lot of male managers do not understand. There are specific legal requirements that have to be followed. If you feel uncomfortable with some of the items like nursing rooms, etc., work with HR to make sure your employees have everything they need.

5. Treating them differently. A good manager should assess each person on the team as an individual and not bucket them into a group. A good manager works with each member of their team to identify their strengths and weaknesses and helps them succeed.

This issue can be very polarizing and a lot of people have different opinions. My advice is to be honest, caring and to show your team you are trying your best. Everyone will make mistakes. If your employees know that you truly are looking out for their best interests they will overlook small mistakes and help you to learn as well.

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