Battle of the Sexes – Are Men or Women the better Project Managers?

Does gender determine what you’re good at? Something to tickle your conceptions.

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As more women make their foray into the male dominated professions taking up the challenge, we often read articles that argue for and against a particular gender in particular profession. This time it is project management. So who are the better project managers? Men or Women?

 

Michelle Symonds bravely took up the task of analyzing traits in both genders and commenting on the contribution these traits make towards successful project management.

Michelle has written two articles: one on women as project managers (read it here) and the other on men as project managers (read it here). Although she attempts to talk about the innate qualities of each gender that contribute to successful project management, she asserts that women make better project managers than men in her article on women project managers. (based on a 2007 survey of experienced project managers in the U.S.)

Communication skills– She says men communicate directly and concisely which helps in making decisions, and women are able to get information informally and hence are more likely to be aware of a problem before it becomes an issue.

Team building and motivation- Women are able to motivate their team members by being personal, whereas men do it by encouraging competition amongst team members and bringing the best out of the members by encouraging them to work effectively under pressure.

Dealing with challenges and risks– Women’s innate multitasking abilities enable them to deal with change and unexpected risks and opportunities. Men being competitive, are less likely to accept that something is not achievable and will have the courage to challenge the current status quo in a constructive way.

 

I think each gender handles situations and aspects of project management differently, but arrives at the same result. There cannot be a single approach to all projects; the approach taken depends on the project and the people working on the project. These days with the divide between what were traditionally gender specific roles becoming narrower, with men taking up jobs such as nursing or house husbands, (which were traditionally what women did) and women taking up roles in areas such as construction and even the army (earlier restricted to men), it is just a question of learning new skills and training one’s mind to react in a particular way in order to achieve success in any venture.

For each gender that has forayed into an area that historically belonged to the other gender, it has shown a tremendous amount of courage and conviction, along with a belief, that it is just a matter of acquiring the right skills. Similarly project managers (men or women), should be open to developing and applying the skills that are required of the particular project in order to be successful!
Anupama Kapoor joined the redtoo Project Management Team in August 2011 as a Project Manager.