Does Matrix Management Favor Women Over Men?

I recently read an article called “Women Leaders: The Hard Truth about Soft Skills” from Bloomberg Businessweek. It quotes Mary Fontaine, global head of Hay Group’s leadership and talent practice.

“The need for collaboration, inclusiveness, and building trust and relationships,” Fontaine says, “is becoming increasingly important as organizations continue to remove entire layers of old command-and-control management jobs and replace them with more matrixed leadership roles.”

  • Have you seen this in your own organization? … or in your clients’ organizations?
  • Do you see some individuals thrive in these types of roles more than others?

This article cites several studies showing how women’s natural tendency to collaborate, and ability to influence through relationships enables us to thrive in a highly matrixed environment. Many men, on the other hand, who are used to a more traditional culture, struggle mightily when the solid lines on the organization chart evaporate.

In my previous blog post on the subject of matrix management, I referred to this type of highly matrixed environment as Life in a Rubik’s Cube World. Do you live in this type of world? I’d love to hear about your experience.

Do you see men and women succeeding in it equally? Or certain skills enabling some individuals to excel compared to others? Please share your learnings in the comments below.

Betsy Winkler is a Partner at PeopleResults. She can be reached on Twitter at @BetsyWinkler1.