As women business owners, we’re often drawn to hiring other women as we build our team. We like the camaraderie, the easy conversation and the like-minded ways of thinking. Let’s face it, we tend to be drawn to people who are JUST LIKE US! This actually applies to men, too, and it can be a major barrier to our business success.
Diversity among your team is a huge benefit, but what if you don’t have it?
If your team is all female, here are some things you might observe and want to address.
Meetings running too long — Women LOVE to collaborate and sometimes can dive down the rabbit hole before they even realize it. With a female team, a specific meeting agenda distributed in advance with a time limit on each topic can help to keep everyone focused.
Lots of ideas with less actual action — Now, this is a huge generalization and certainly not always true, but the majority of women tend to be creative, right-brain thinkers. We like to use our imagination and visualize solutions, but it’s a much smaller percentage of women who are the detail-oriented, strategic thinkers and can actually break it down into step-by-step execution. If you find one of those for your team, treat her very well! She’s worth her weight in gold! And for heaven’s sake, let her create your processes and insist that everyone else follow them! If you DON’T have one of these on your team, seriously consider contracting a project manager to help you with execution of larger initiatives.
Unspoken misunderstandings or grudges — One of the realities of being a woman is, we are still driven in large part by the ancestral instincts that were crucial to our survival. As a cave woman in a large tribe, our likelihood of finding the best mate and achieving the highest levels among the tribe hinged upon being liked, and darned if we aren’t still driven by it today. When men have conflict, they tend to just throw it out there, deal with it and move on. Not us. Women will tend to say nothing and hope it just passes, all the while building resentments even to the point of deliberately undermining each other. Horribly unproductive.
Start your team with a Clean Slate Policy. Every time I bring in a new team member, male or female, we have an orientation meeting and I explain our Clean Slate Policy: Every day when we leave the office, you must have a clean slate with every other person. In other words, if there is ANYTHING that is causing discomfort, confusion, unrest or anxiety, we all agree that we will immediately bring it up. We each agree to be open to feedback and realize that we’re all on the same team and we all want the best for the company and each other and unspoken tension will not serve anyone. We will GET IT OUT and ADDRESS IT!
A team of all women has a lot of advantages, but, hopefully, these tips will help to avoid a few of the possible pitfalls. I’m actually looking for the first man to join my all-female company. It will take one brave soul to climb into this power-woman cave!
Nancy Hetrick founded Smarter Divorce Solutions in 2012 and has more than 16 years of experience in both investment management and financial planning. Hetrick is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA™), a Master Analyst in Financial Forensics (MAFF), an Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AWMA) and a trained mediator. She can be contacted at