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Do White Males Make Better Managers?

Note: For the benefit of full disclosure, I think I should tell the reader than I am a Black female posing this question. I don’t want anyone who stumbles upon this piece to think that it’s some form of White Supremacist propaganda. Now that we’ve got that out of the way…

As you dear MOM Squad and Random Readers know, I began working in corporate American this February. It’s had its share of disadvantages, but the greatest boon thus far has been that it’s enabled me to strike down the 14 year old, gluttonous albatross that’s been around my neck since I strolled across that wood and iron stage at Hampton University.

My job has me working on a number of accounts, and I can get switched from one client to another in a moment’s notice. This means that before I can truly master one account, I get moved. It also means I never have a chance to be bored. Since I generally find that I don’t like working for more than one singular employer for more than 6 months, it works pretty well for me. However, I’ve found that the ease and pleasure of those six months entirely depend upon two things:

  1. What the client wants/needs
  2. Who is managing the account

I’ve had seven jobs over the course of the last 14 years (not including my current one). Two of those went belly up after the DotCom bubble burst, and three of those dissolved when the housing bubble imploded. I’ve had both male and female managers of both races. (Fyi – In America, there are only two races: White and Not White.) The majority of my managers have been White. I have only worked for one Black female…wait!

That’s a lie.

Remember Big Lou and my cleaning job during a Real HouseKeeper of Atlanta. That’s eight jobs.

So as I was saying, the majority of my managers have been white and male; and honestly, they outperform every single manager I’ve ever had!

Now you may be asking yourself “Malaka, what is causing you to sit here and ponder something so mundane?” This ferocious headache I’ve been nursing for the past 3 days is what. I work from home, which should in essence be a stress-free exercise, but this female manager I have is making my existence about as enjoyable as having Stevie Wonder at the helm of the Titanic.

“Stevie! You see that iceberg?!?”

“C’mon man. You know I can’t see jack…”

The results are just disastrous.

Without getting into the specifics, I really want to answer the question about why White males just make more superior managers, or more specifically is that really true? I posed the question on Facebook, and for those who have bothered to respond, the majority would say yes. Why is that? I have a couple of theories.

  1. Historically, White men have been running things a lot longer than anyone else has: Plantations, factories, advertising agencies, you name it. They are more comfortable with assuming control because they see it as a birth right. Look at the male-centric cartoons on Disney or Nickelodeon, for example. What race is the kid on Paw Patrol? What race is Ben Ten? Yup… Dude is SUPPOSED to be that color.paw patrol
  2. Because they have been doing it longer, they can do it better. White men are more likely to mentor younger white men, to take them under their wings and help them navigate around potential “icebergs”. Every manager is going to make mistakes, but there are certain obvious pitfalls you can avoid if you take the advice of someone who’s been there and done that. We still live in an age where we are still welcoming the “first black this” and “the first woman that”, which tells me that minorities and women do not have the experience in those arenas as their male counterparts.
  3. Women are focused on procedures, men are focused on results. This trait and what you may classify as who makes a “good leader” I think is industry specific. For instance, you want someone who is building a bomb to be focused on procedures. That’s a great trait to have. HOWEVER, I think it’s counter-productive to ask a recruiter in 3 different conference calls HOW and WHERE they found a candidate to fill a position when the guy is about to start working and the position has been vacant for 90+ days. Who cares?!?! He’s working! And he’s not a criminal! And besides, why am I repeating myself on 4 calls that you’ve sat in? Good lord…
  4. Women are focused on fairness, men are not: I have observed that in all the positions I’ve held that were headed up by women, each employee got the same treatment. Sure, this sounds like a good thing, but when your co-workers are dumbasses, trust me, it’s not. Don’t treat me like a dumbass. I don’t deserve that. What I have always appreciated about my male employers and managers is that they consider the individual needs of each of their charges and manage and reward to those strengths. Under woman-led rule, everybody gets a cookie, and that’s bull.

I have only worked for one Black male, and he was never in the office. He was a sales manager and always out playing golf. I can’t speak to the strengths or weaknesses of the Black male manager, so I’d love someone’s perspective on that. I know we should all judge people on their individual talents and not on race and gender and blah, blah, blah, but in this area, White men rule!

business man and his team

Think of THE best manager you ever had. What made them so exceptional? Do you think race and gender have anything to do with management style and getting results from your team? Discuss! ↓

This article has 3 comments

  1. Martin

    I beg to differ with your sentiments. I have worked with the best African bosses and the only problem i have ever had is for the female bosses. i have also met stereotypes who employ whites thinking of better outcomes and the opposite happen.

    • Malaka

      I’m really happy you disagree with me. That’s how we defy archetypes and stereotypes.
      I know at least four other people who would say an African boss is the worst boss they’ve ever had. I also took this discussion to a different environment, and I had a white woman told me that all her bosses have been white males, and they have all been rotten. I suppose it all comes down to individual experience, industry and environment.

  2. David S.

    I think different people have different qualities they look for in a good manager. Some people have talked about how a good manager for them is one who inspires them. For me, the worst managers I had were the ones who made me feel like I had to manage myself, that is in addition to doing my job, I had to do theirs as well. I’ve had managers where, if I had slacked off and not done the job I was supposed to be doing, they were so bad, that they would have never known. That’s how bad they were at staying on top of what I was supposed to be doing. Because of my experiences, one of the things I look for in a good manager is someone who actually makes me feel pressured to deliver. I point this out, because if the yardstick for a good manager is one who inspires me and believes in me, then by that measure, two of my best managers ever, were black males.

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