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On June 29th, 2010

Management Development Training for Men and Women – is There Any Difference?

So is this difference in style just a perception or is it based on any evidence?

We are aware of the animal studies than show the differences in behavior between males and females that have characterized females as being more nurturing and of males classically exhibiting aggressive, dominant "A"€ type behavior -€“ but how far do these results transfer across to management roles in organizations?

We also know that there are differences in some physical performance aspects of men and women which have to be taken account – especially in occupations where physical strength and stamina is important e g The Army, The Fire Brigade

When we look at some of the more sophisticated Psychometric tests measuring personality characteristics such as 16pf, we do know that there are some gender differences which are significant enough for us to use different norm tables for men or women in order to normalize any comparative results.

So if we accept that there are some gender based differences in managerial style and approach should we then provide different forms of management development training for man and women?

I think that the answer is probably no – because there are other factors that are even more important to consider when we look at the role of a manager, their styles, approaches and when we consider the people that they are managing or dealing with as customers and clients.

The sorts of factors that are more important to consider are these:-

- What are the gender types and likely responses of the customer set for your product or service?

- How good at your managers at understanding personality differences and gender styles in this customer set? Can they deal effectively with diverse types?

- What makes a successful manager in your business from a competency point of view?

- What are the different learning styles of your participants on any training program and how well are you delivering your program to reach and appeal to these different styles of activist, pragmatist, reflector etc?

- What is the culture and style of your organization that you are looking to reinforce and encourage – whether it is adopted my male or female managers is less relevant.

In conclusion whilst accepting that differences do exist in the styles of individual managers, there is a broad spectrum of styles and approaches produced by individual differences rather than by simple gender stereotyping and that there are other factors outlined above which are more significant.

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