First, I am a female founder. And I sucked at managing other women on the team. Call it tough love? No, the opposite. Female founders for the most part, like other female execs trying to manage teams, find it hard to manage women more so than men. And the bottom line? We just haven’t been trained.
I’ve fallen into the trap where I find myself with my female colleagues being tougher, more combative, more skeptical and downright sometimes rude to them versus my male colleagues where I am more jovial, more bro-like and just all around nicer.
It seems like the battle of the sexism can never be won by women. We can’t seem to get up the ladder with men, and now with women, because women founders just suck at knowing how to work in an environment with other women.
We just don’t come across women that often and because of it, this alien/foreign situation becomes more of an obstacle versus an opportunity to grow the business. You feel it as a big liability on your shoulder and it burdens you.
So my going advice — go and seek out HR books on managing women and read them. Read to see how the sexes are different and how to be a better manager. See how to respect the sexes to get the most productive environment that supports each equally. Speak calmly in your meetings and don’t degrade or cast down or become indifferent to women while in the company of men. Be supportive, actually extra supportive. because your cues will help their male counterparts support them as well. And finally, when your startup has grown up, hire an HR manager.