Men and women like to be managed in different ways, but  in a climate of equality in the workplace, how is this possible? As the director of Capp (a global organisational psychology firm), I worked with Emma Trenier (consulting psychologist) to look at what women want from their managers, and what can be done to address their needs.

Recent research conducted by Capp has highlighted a number of key management behaviours, which make a real difference to women. These largely focus on attitude, relationships, and are not just about getting the job done.

With information from over 1,100 participants, Emma and I have used our research to compile a list of seven ways to get the best out of your female workforce:

  1. Say thank you: These two little words go a long way and women want their managers to use them regularly.
  2. Don’t judge me: Women want their managers to accept them as individuals. This allows them to step out and do their best work.
  3. Be emotionally aware: Women value managers who are aware of other people’s emotions and are ready to respond to them.
  4. Build me up: Women want their managers to help them develop professionally, but also to build their self-esteem.
  5. Recognise me: Women want their managers to notice them as individuals. This means treating everyone personally.
  6. Connect with me: Women want their managers to make others feel comfortable. This is important during tricky conversations and in difficult meetings.
  7. Be agile: Women want their managers to be quick at re-organisation and be able to meet changing demands.

What does this mean for you as a manager?

By using these points to guide daily practice, managers can address the needs of both men and women, helping to give them equal attention.

In fact, our survey shows that by acting on this advice, it’s possible to improve staff effectiveness, helping both men and women excel and exceed expectations in their job roles. As managers ourselves, we understand the growing pressure placed on the role. To make things easier, there are a number of quick wins that can be carried out to improve your team’s results. Why not try the following:

1. Understand their unrealised strengths and aspirations

Capp’s research shows that when we develop our unrealised strengths, we become more confident in achieving our goals. Why not find out what your staff would love to do in their role and help them make it possible? As part of review meetings, ask them about what they want to achieve in the future and what jobs they want to do more of.

2. Build a positive team culture

Managers are often described as ‘climate engineers’ because they establish office culture. Pay attention to your own emotions and the impact that they have on others. In research conducted by American professor Barbara Fredrickson, teams that experience positive interactions achieve higher performance. As a manager, make it your duty to increase the positivity in your team. We find that opening meetings on a positive note and offering genuine feedback is a great way to lift the mood.

3. Demonstrate change agility

The good news is that encouraging a positive feeling on your team will help to increase the acceptance of change. On top of this, consider how you can inspire others to be ready for change. One of the best ways is to ask them for their ideas and to share your plans. This will help to improve teamwork and embed a true feeling of recognition.

When managing a team, it is important to remember that one size doesn’t always fit all. Men and women like to be managed in different ways and will expect different things. By treating each person as an individual and getting to know them on a personal level, you can increase your team’s results, and help your team members achieve their personal goals.

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Written by Nicky Garcea, consulting director, Capp

Nicky Garcea is the consulting director at Capp ( where she heads their Women in Leadership programme. She has been working with women in management and in senior level positions in blue chip organisations, including AVIVA, BBC, Barclays Capital and Thomson Reuters, for the past ten years.

She is experienced in coaching senior women going through transitional phases i.e. returning to work and going for promotions, amongst others.

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4 Responses to “Help female staff excel at work – management strategies”

  1. [...] I thought readers of The Capp Blog would be interested to read this post on the management strategies that our research shows are most effective for women, as published recently in Changeboard: [...]

  2. Melanie says:

    This looks great, thanks for sharing. It does make me wonder, what do men want and need from their manager? What is different to this list? Could doing these things support both women and men, or is what men need distinctly different, or even opposite these suggestions? Is there research around that? I’d be keen to hear others thoughts.

  3. [...] you treat all high performers in the same way? Recent research has shown that women like to be developed in a different way to their male counterparts. If working with and managing women, try simple things like: saying thank you, accepting and [...]

  4. [...] read more about what women want from their managers in Nicky Garcea and Emma Trenier’s recent blog, published on [...]