Do Boys-Club Make Leadership Poorer At Workplaces

Do you think that men-only clubs or groups can negatively impact workplace culture?

These boys-clubs are often seen to promote camaraderie and foster friendships within the workplace. They also provide opportunities for networking and mentoring.

However, some studies suggest that these clubs can create a negative environment for women at work. For example, they might encourage sexist behavior and perpetuate gender stereotypes. This could lead to less female representation in high-ranking roles.

Men At Work Clubs And Workspace

The term ‘boys-club’ describes organizations where all the employees are male. It can be found throughout various industries, from marketing to law to finance. This corporate culture often fosters male dominance and reduces women to secretaries and janitors. 

On the contrary, there’s been a rise in organizations that have created a more gender-balanced workspace. These companies are creating environments that promote gender equity.

These workplace cultures are most commonly associated with start-ups and small businesses. But, as the number of workplaces that follow this model increases, so does the need to know what makes them tick. And what many organizations don’t realize is that these kinds of workplace settings allow for different ways of contributing ideas and fostering collaboration across team members.

men at work bad leadership

How do you know you are working in a boys-club culture in your workspace?

So, before you set up a formal boys club, why not try creating a more inclusive culture first? When establishing a more diverse workplace, you’ll learn valuable lessons about what works and what doesn’t. And once you’ve succeeded at that, you can focus on building successful organizational structures based on the insights gained.

Some men at work clubs may promote isolation, especially if members don’t share common interests or experiences with other male employees. As a result, employees who aren’t part of this group might feel left out and frustrated by their lack of company in forming relationships.

In addition, we all know how much more difficult it is for people who don’t have much experience in something to succeed. Research shows that people without relevant work experience are at a disadvantage compared to those with such experience. So, suppose your club promotes an idea of masculinity that includes having no prior experience in anything. In that case, it might make it harder for people who don’t fit into this mold to achieve leadership positions.

How Does The Boys-Club Affect Leadership In The Workplace

Sometimes, the presence of a boy’s club can negatively impact leadership in the workplace. Several studies show that this is even more prevalent in leadership positions.

For instance, one study suggests that when an office has a higher proportion of female leaders than others, most men at work tend to hold positions of power within their respective teams. And, when this imbalance exists, men with little to no experience become managers. This means that while a boys club can negatively influence the success of the entire workforce, it can also hurt diversity in the workplace when it comes to upper management, therefore leading to bad leadership.

A similar trend emerges when leaders are predominantly male. A study conducted by Catalyst showed that nearly 2/3rds of male leaders didn’t perform well because of bias or stereotypes held by other male associates. They couldn’t access certain resources or networks and were less likely to receive promotions. This is counterproductive because it decreases the pool of potential candidates to make their company better.

But, the good news is that the opposite trends exist as well. When there are few male senior executives, it gives more room for talented women to get ahead. And likewise, when women fill senior executive roles, the chance of advancement for less experienced men at work increases. Overall, it seems like each side benefits from a more balanced mix.

What Happens When Boys-Club Becomes A Norm In The Workplace?

When boys’ clubs are made into workplaces, three distinct outcomes occur. First, employees begin to behave differently because of their social environment. Second, these “men at work” often feel entitled to positions of authority and power (Harvard Business Review). And finally, they expect managers to carry out policies designed to keep them happy (Stanford University).

Now, a lot of times, we hear or read about examples of the opposite scenario happening, meaning, instead of seeing boys-clubs becoming workplaces, we’re witnessing workplaces morphing into boys-clubs. This usually occurs when an organization experiences some change —like changing the title of a department, restructuring the company, or rebranding itself. Changes like these cause fear among employees but also create new growth opportunities.

When these changes occur, the old way of doing things may seem outdated and even detrimental, but if your current work environment isn’t working for you anymore, then it might be time to look elsewhere. The best thing to do would be to ask yourself, “Why am I here? What should my manager do next?” And if you still haven’t answered those questions, perhaps you are ready to find a new job.

Bottom Line

All in all, it may seem like the existence of a boys club is detrimental to workplace culture. But, it shouldn’t come as such a surprise if we think about the nature of business growth and progress. So, fast-paced environments require specific skill sets that include more flexible work, collaboration, and trust. Hence, those who can adapt and thrive in this setting can lead effectively and halt bad leadership.

And, as far as leadership goes, it doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about men at work or women at work. Both genders benefit from having a variety of perspectives represented among leaders. For men, it allows for increased opportunities to grow professionally while decreasing the risk of bias because it provides a greater amount of perspective, gender equity, and empathy towards females working in non-traditional fields, leading to fewer biases against them within the organization.

Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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