I think that the WoW world of raiding and guilds and everything else that comes with it lends itself to comparing it to a workplace. Ok, even if you think it doesn't, just stay with me here, ok? If we think about WoW like your work environment, a bunch of thoughts around women in the workplace of WoW. First,
Do you think women are harder on each other in WoW?
Women being overly critical of each other in a social and workplace setting isn't anything new, and has often been discussed. This article has an interesting discussion on why women are so critical of each other.
"Too often I hear women admitting that it is women’s criticism more than men’s, “that you have to watch out for”. Why do so many women feel unsupported and criticised by other women"?
So is there a part of this in WoW? Myself, I've been in our guild pretty much since the beginning and haven't had to join a guild and thus meet and try to fit in with a bunch of new people. For those of you women who have, have you dealt with women in those guilds who were somehow threatened by you... leading to you being ignored or criticized? Does the social concept of women being bitchy and unwelcoming to each other in RL translate into guilds? Are the guys much more welcoming?
I have also thought about this from the other side, as a long standing member and officer (aka I really run the show but make Jess think he has some authority and decision making power from time to time) of our guild. How have I treated women who have joined our guild? Am I overly critical? Not welcoming?
If we are to talk about performance, I don't think that I am necessarily any more critical than the guys are... whether the performance comes from a guy or a girl. But I will say that there may be a part of me that may take more stock in the performance of a fellow female raider more than the male raiders. Why? Because its important to me to show that the gals can play just as well (and sometimes even better) than the boys. So when a female raider doesn't do as well, I feel like I have a more vested interest in seeing them improve. (Even though yes, I know there are plenty of male players who suck). It's like I don't want those females, especially our females, to play into that misguided stereotype that girls can't play.
So does this all lead me to being more critical? I don't think so. I hope not. But I think its something interesting for me to keep in mind and be aware of going forward. I will say that when I have been less welcoming or leery of certain people in our guild, it really had less to do with gender and more to do with my intuition that they weren't the right fit.
But as an officer in our guild, here's my next topic/question. It's interesting and kind of sad that in the business world, there is a lot of literature out there around the fact that most people (both men and women) prefer to have a male boss than a female boss. This article on Forbes talks about some of this where they cite a survey of 2,000 British women in full or part-time employment, where 63% said they'd prefer a male over a female boss. Is this true in WoW?
Do players, both male and female prefer dealing with male GMs and officers?
There's been more research lately around whether women actually make better bosses. An interesting op-ed kind of article from the NYTimes talks about this. One of the researchers starts out by saying:
"I have read hundreds of studies that have compared women and men as managers. When we summarize all of that research, some differences do show up, although only “on the average.” As with all averages, there are many exceptions."
Good point to keep in mind. The article continues with:
"Female managers are more collaborative and democratic than male managers. Second, compared with men, women use a more positive approach by encouraging and urging others rather than a negative approach of scolding and reprimanding them. Third, women attend more to the individuals they work with, by mentoring them and taking their particular situations into account."
"No doubts: Some sex differences exist, and there’s new evidence to prove it. Women are often better communicators because their brains are more networked for language. The majority of women are better at “mind-reading,” than most men; they can read the emotions written on people’s faces more quickly and easily. And the thicker corpus callosum connecting women’s two hemispheres provides a swifter superhighway for processing social messages, such as reading the morale of a group, or the mood of a colleague. And there are measurable sex differences in empathy."
This article (last one I promise!) also addresses some qualities that distinguish women leaders:
"Women leaders have an inclusive, team-building leadership style of problem solving and decision making... and are more persuasive than their male counterparts. The strong people skills possessed by women leaders enable them to read situations accurately and take in information from all sides. This willingness to see all sides of a situation enhances their persuasive ability. They can zero in on someone's objections or concerns, weigh them appropriately, address them effectively and incorporate them into the grander scheme of things when appropriate."
So, do you see differences in male and female WoW leadership?
Again, of course these are all average differences and individual differences exist. So what am I trying to say after all this ramble? I think women in guild leadership roles, as GMs or officers, are bringing something different and significant to the table. I, for one, would be leery to join a guild that didn't have a single female, not just in membership, but in some sort of leadership role.
Jess and I have talked about this before, but I think part of why our guild has generally been successful is because of the fact that we play off each other and the stereotypical male and female leadership and management styles. The ever present joke of us being the guild mom and guild dad works well. Because, yes (and I will admit it Jess), there are advantages to male leadership:
"Men also, they’re definitely better on the “whatever” side. Things tend to roll off their back. We women take things very personally. We’re constantly playing things over in our head — “What did that mean when they said that?” — when they mean nothing. And I’m certainly not immune to this. So there’s a downside to women."
Other noted male leadership styles include being more direct, task oriented, and being risk takers.
At the end of the day, whether in a real life job or in a WoW guild, I think men and women in leadership together makes for the best outcome.