The organization of the most successful Russian businesswomen
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Perception of female bosses

More than half of the respondents (60%) agreed that women must be present on top company management teams. This notion is more often supported by Muscovites (71%) then by residents of other Russian regions (49%). However it’s mostly women who share this belief (74%), and not men (38%). Second-level and top-managers also have different support for this idea (72% against 48%), as well as managers employed by large and small (70% and 56%), foreign and Russian-owned companies (84% vs 52%). A portrait of a typical opponent of women’s presence in boards of directors would look like this: it’s a man holding a top management position in a Russian company. On the other hand, a proponent of female presence on top management teams would look quite differently: a woman, second-tier manager, employed by a large foreign firm.

Despite the declared acceptance of the need to involve women in dealing with strategic tasks, 40% of the respondents would like to work for a male boss, and only 4% would prefer a woman as their immediate superior. Breakdown of answers to the question, “Who do you find easier to work with” exactly matches preferences regarding the boss’s gender: to half of the respondents it didn’t matter and 40% opted for a man. Men more often than women wanted to work under a male boss (49% against 35%). At the same the in-depth interviews showed that in principle men executives are ready to invite women to management positions under their own supervision (a step below them), provided the candidates match the necessary requirements.

More balanced teams

According to the participants of in-depth interviews “mixed” teams are always more successful than single-gender ones (regardless of the gender).

The main factors which affect efficiency include the following:

The team has a wider horizon (regarding both its approach to assessing a business situation and generally), which helps making a more accurate assessment and more considered decisions.

“Having female managers means a wider outlook and, accordingly, a higher-quality, more efficient business” (woman, deputy general director, a large Russian power supply company).
“A team needs a balanced set of psycho-types. There’s little chance a man would be very interested in fashion, while there’s a much bigger chance that a woman manager would. Of course it’s different social areas and they might have nothing at all to do with a particular company’s business. But when the board of directors’ scope of interests includes both Formula 1 races and fashion, that widens the overall scope of interests of the whole company” (woman, general director of the Russian division of a large multinational corporation, manufacturing).

Using various approaches to tasks allows to make more efficient decisions.

“Just because of different approaches, because if men tend to find solutions quickly and take the shortest route to where they need to be, women need more proof, more theoretical justification, they’re willing to dig deep” (man, marketing director, a large Russian bank).