Female Bosses, Male Bosses: Which Do You Prefer?

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This question is not as simple as it sounds, because most times we don’t get to choose who to work for, and depending on the kind of job we do, the person we directly work for might change from time to time. So really, the fact that you prefer a male boss to a female boss or vice-versa might not really matter eventually, and all you might be left to do would be to learn how to work with/for either of them at different times.

Male bosses love having power over others, and they exercise it as often as possible, but so do female bosses. Female bosses are seen as tyrants, but so are some male bosses, though some people have argued that there is a possibility that a female boss would favour their male subordinates more than the female ones and this could be for a number of reasons, but I am just going to look at one. – The Queen Bee syndrome.

Queen Bee syndrome has been long recognized by psychologists and several studies have been carried out on the phenomenon. A woman who has worked her way up to the top in a male-dominated organization, and she probably got there by behaving how a man would behave – appearing tough and not at all soft and mushy, could just metamorphose into a Queen Bee without even realizing it. This kind of woman would forget the sisterhood, and would forget to smash a hole through the glass ceiling and throwing a rope ladder down to her younger female colleagues; she is unlikely to mentor younger women because she quite likes her unique position, and may feel threatened by younger females rising up the ranks; because in her opinion, she had to work hard and break every known barriers to get to where she is, so she’s not about to give other women a helping hand on a platter of gold – they have to work their way up just as she did.

A Queen Bee is unlikely to have sympathy for a woman who cries in the office or needs time off because of a sick child, she’s not likely to be tolerant of those women she perceives to be “not strong enough” maybe because she might have had to sacrifice her own private life, family or spouse to get to where she is or for other reasons. Most times when you are a female with a male boss, he might give days off if you suddenly broke down tears in the boardroom over an issue you are going through at home. But don’t count on it when you have a female boss; chances are she would tell you to deal with your issues outside work hours as she is a woman who is dealing with her own issues too. And since it is a lot easier for our bosses to replace us than for us to replace them, we might just have to find ways to work around working with them.

I am not a woman, so if I had a female boss, my experience might just be different, who knows we might even fall in love (read that as LUST) Hehe!

So, if you are a female and you work with a female boss, here are things I believe you should do or not do to have a cordial boss/subordinate relationship.


This strategy is applicable no matter the gender of your boss. All you need do is find out what your boss does not know how to do very well, it could be writing, strategizing, budgeting or anything that is work-related and is essential to her office. But remember you have to be subtle, you don’t want to sound or seem like you want to take her job or implying that she doesn’t know what she is doing. Just find a way to do something you noticed she has not been doing so well, and do it better without shoving it to her face. When I was working with a private security firm in Lagos, I improved on how our weekly, monthly and even yearly reports on Microsoft excel are being done, I am good with Microsoft Powerpoint, so I dazzled my boss who never liked me when I got employed with it, and before long he could do his presentation with more graphic illustrations and less write-ups, he liked it and liked me. So, one way of making sure you work well with your female boss is to perform, make yourself invaluable to her and deliver value that will be appreciated by her. Do that, and gender goes out the window.


You know power is very complicated, and that is what being a boss is really about most times. So realize that she is your boss, she is more powerful than you; she’s holding the cards, and you’re not, and now that you’re in that situation, it’s up to you to figure out how to work it to your advantage. So, it doesn’t really matter if you like your female boss or not, if you think she should have the job or not, or if you have a problem with her or not. The only thing you need to do is let her know that you know she’s the boss with your words and actions, don’t try to sound right all the time, don’t show her that you are more intelligent than she is. In the end, it may just even be that she is not out to frustrate you, but she just wants respect and be recognized as the boss that she is.


This is the only “DON’T” I have for you. You need to know that the workplace is not a social club, and it is not your job to align yourself with the girl who has the most cake. Many young women fall into this trap of befriending their female boss and even trying too hard at doing it. Getting dinner together, going on a yoga retreat together with your boss and acting like sisters or best friends could be tempting, but it is a loser’s move, it doesn’t make you better at your job; though it makes going to work in the short term more fun, but it doesn’t advance your career in the long term. So, if you are thinking of being your boss’s BFF, do yourself a favour, DON”T. Stay blessed.

Christopher Bamidele

Christopher Bamidele

Chris Bamidele is a passionate and unapologetic Nigerian; an amateur writer and aspiring TV director who holds a first degree in Mass Communication, but majored in Radio and TV Broadcasting. He is cool headed, a realist, and an optimist to the core. Chris Bamidele blogs African stories on www.degreatest2.wordpress.com and tweets @degreatest2. He currently lives in Lagos.


  1. i don’t have real experience but i have a virtual reality, Carly Fiorina @HP. i am so impressed with her and so disappointed with @HP. i am a tyrant in my personal life and it is called discipline. there was a female at yahoo that was worthless, so i view leadership as discipline not gender.

  2. Yeah. most times it has nothing to do with gender, but we all sure have preferences. some out of experience and others just because of stereotype.

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