Three Dilemmas For Women in Management – Secrets for You to Get Past Them

There are a lot of challenges that women in management face on a daily basis but some of the toughest to master relate to managing themselves, the culture and their employees. The so-called soft business challenges. Through our experiences working with women leaders, we have placed them into three categories – risk taking, lack of growth and decisions around firing someone.

Women in management are often encouraged to take risks. Easier for some; harder for others. But it’s impossible to grow a business yet along a career, without taking some chances. The issue is the perception in taking risks and fearing failure. If however, failure in this context is seen as growth, gaining important experience and not labeled as a failure, then more women CEOs as well as men would be inclined to take more calculated risks.

The challenge is to remove this stigma of failure from those who are willing to try. In order to make it more likely that others will take risks when they see that the positives far outweigh the negatives. The key is to focus on the lessons that result from the mistake. The biggest impediments for women in management, goes back to beliefs and experience and how they are embedded within the culture of the work group or organization.

One of the real benefits of hiring a diverse group of employees from different backgrounds is that it may enable you to gradually build a business culture that is less punitive about risk. People of different backgrounds will approach success and failure differently. By hiring people with different levels of risk aversive attitudes, you are maximizing your chance for positive results. It just needs to be embedded into the culture. It’s a constant challenge and learning process that fortunately becomes easier with practice.

The second challenge that women leaders face is hitting a career plateau where the current job does not provide the energy and passion to drive success. This applies to individuals as well as organizations. Many women may hit a brick wall and struggle with maintaining the energy to keep driving results. Without this energy and passion, both your career and organization could suffer.

Women in management can overcome this plateau by understanding that all leaders, from CEO to entry-level, need to continue to learn, train and reinvent themselves. Likewise, the business itself also needs to grow and change. What got you to the first 100 million in sales may not get you to the 200 million. Focus on growth is the key to get unstuck Accepting and dealing with change is important because their competition will also be growing and changing as well.

Typically a new business begins by being outwardly focused on the markets and customers. Then as success develops, volume and stuff increase and the leaders will then look inwards to concentrate on the systems and infrastructure to maintain the growth and not have things fall through the cracks. When competition comes along, it is then necessary for women leaders to switch focus back to the outside. This whole process of reinventing yourself and your organization by assessing and changing your internal and external focus is critical.

Finally, women in management positions often face difficult hiring and firing issues as the organization grows. People who were right for certain positions may not be any more as the company evolves. One of the most difficult situations is, knowing when to get rid of someone who is marginal. The textbook answer suggests that, hedging the bet for too long is not beneficial to anyone. Though these situations seem uncomfortable, it is generally the case that your employee knows she is not succeeding. In fact, the change often becomes a turning point for them.

There is also the case in which an employee is excellent at her job, but does not fit in with the culture. Though it is an extremely difficult act for women leaders to get rid of a good, income-producing employee, it is generally more important to maintain a positive work culture.

All of these issues impact women in management’s ability to achieve personal and business success. How you deal and interact to these challenges on a regular basis will determine how successful you will be. It is important for women in management to keep in mind, however that, like anything else, running a company is a learning process and you are sure to improve as time goes on.

Presuming you will not blame yourself for failures but look at them as learning opportunities and chances to improve.

Women Can Effectively Manage Work And Home

Women are more dexterous and dynamic when it comes to managing office work and house chores. They have assignments to complete at work despite having a sick child at home, check their children’s school work, handle several concurrent tasks at the office, create a good atmosphere at home and manage household chores. At the start, women are energetic and bustling with vim and vigor but after a while, it can become exasperating and difficult to maintain such a hectic schedule. She will feel the effects creeping into her and she may start responding in a negative manner.

Balance your work

Multitasking is common among women. They have to handle concurrent tasks such as taking care of the child, cooking and cleaning the house. This is just the house work and can become more complex once you include their office work, such as taking calls, making reservations, typing letters and attending to office visitors. Women get accustomed to this scenario but when it starts turning to stress and tension, and then it’s time to call a halt to the multifarious activities. Take stock of the work you do at home and see if you can delegate it to other people or set a more relaxed schedule to handle it. Cleaning the house can be done by house help. It may be cheaper to hire help rather than exert yourself to the extreme. You can use the time to handle other house chores more effectively or use the time to bond with your family. Relaxing and taking it easy is a good way to get rid of your stress and tension.

People have to eat regularly and cooking food can be a tedious daily chore. Use the week end to cook all the food you need for the week. It’s easier to do all your cooking at one sitting. Work out the menu for the week and cook the food one at a time. Washing pots and pans are also done during one sitting and can save a lot of time during the weekdays. It feels good coming home from work and not having to slave over an oven cooking dinner for the family.

Talk to your spouse about splitting the house work. There are house chores that require some strength and can be easily handled by the man rather than a woman. Set up car pools with your neighbors if they have children going to the same school. You can also make arrangements with a shuttle or school bus. Do an inventory of the house chores and prioritize them based on frequency. There may be chores that can be done weekly or monthly. Some chores like spring cleaning or putting up storm windows are seasonal. Set a calendar so you don’t miss out on the chores. Once you stop doing a chore, there is a tendency to forget about it and it may completely slip your mind.

If you handle your daily routine well, there will not be any stress or tension in completing the work. Try to keep the work to the basic essentials. Allocate a certain number of hours for your house work. Remember you have to get ready and go to office so time management is vital in your chores.

Handling tension

Stress and tension can be motivators in getting the jobs done. A person will react and finish their work if they know there is a deadline. Knowing that the boss is expecting the reports first thing in the morning can make a person work extra hard to get the job done on time. If their children have exams, they will take extra time to review them and make sure they understand their lessons. Tension can rise high because children do not realize the importance of the exams and might not have the same concern in studying for it. The woman has to exert more effort to get the children to study their lessons rather than play and watch television. The husband can play an active role in making sure the children do their assignments.

When stressed out, take it easy for a few moments. Take a breather and relax for a while. Clear your mind and keep calm. Once you are relaxed, you will be in a better position to review your problems and work out solutions to them. If things start piling up at the same time, list down all the things that are pending and determine their priorities. People expect you to do all the tasks but there is only so much that can be done concurrently. The other tasks will have to be settled sequentially. Keep your energy up. Take small meals frequently during the day. This will help keep out the hunger pangs and keep your energy level high. Keep careful watch over your health. Maintaining a healthy well being is essential in keeping pace with the hectic work in the office and at home. Perform regular exercises to keep in shape.

Keep a list of the chores in your leather briefcase in an organized and orderly manner. You can refer to them every time you are at a loss on what tasks have to be done at home. Keep your office papers neatly in your briefcase. When you get to office, you will have an easier time settling down and starting your office work with all your office work neatly filed in the briefcase.

Take time to go shopping and spend a day at the spa. There are instances when you simply have to stop your hectic work and just take time off to relax and take it easy.

Develop Effective Modern Kitchen Management Skills

If you think that technology and management have entered only our industries and management institutes, you are wrong. These have entered our kitchen also in a big way to change life, especially for women. In fact, the modern kitchen has greatly helped in the empowerment of women.

The changeover from traditional firewood/kerosene to LPG, has revolutionised cleanliness and the environment, and the pressure cooker has helped housewives to reduce cooking time drastically. With the use of the refrigerator, mixer-grinder, microwave oven, electric chimney, etc, the kitchen has totally changed – and so has the way we used to cook and preserve food in the kitchen.

The design and layout are to be taken care of by the architect or the civil engineer while constructing the kitchen. But other things are to be taken care of by the person operating the kitchen. A safe kitchen is one of the first steps in protecting yourself and your family from food-borne illness and the potential dangers of harmful bacteria as well as protecting the person working in the kitchen from LPG leakage and subsequent explosion.

The most common problem in food safety is the attack from bacteria and contamination due to lack of proper cleanliness. To avoid this:

· Wash hands often.

· Keep raw meat and ready-to-eat foods separate.

· Cook food at proper temperature.

· Refrigerate food promptly to below 4°C.

Hands should be washed in warm, soapy water before preparing foods, especially after handling raw meat, poultry and seafood. Never forget to wash your hands after switching tasks, such as handling raw meat and then cutting vegetables. Also, it is important to wash hands after taking out garbage, sneezing or petting your dog or cat, etc.

Other precautions

– Always use two cutting boards: one strictly to cut raw meat, poultry and seafood; another for ready-to-eat foods like breads, fruits an vegetables.
– After each use, wash cutting boards thoroughly in hot soapy water.
– Discard cutting boards that are worn out with cracks, crevices and excessive knife scars.
– Wash plates between uses or use separate plates: one plate for holding raw meat, poultry and seafood; another for cooked roods.
– Place raw meat, poultry and seafood on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator so that the juices don’t drip onto other foods.
– Place washed produce in clean storage containers; not back into the original ones.
– Use two separate clean towels/cloths: one to dry off the kitchen surfaces and another one to dry your hands.
– Use one spoon or laddle to taste food and another to stir and mix food.
– Make sure that you use clean scissors or blades to open bags of food.
– Wear latex gloves if you have a cut or sore on your hand.

Sponges are safe only when cleaned properly. Bacteria live and grow in damp conditions. Wash dishcloth, sponges and towels often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

Disinfect sponges in chlorine bleach solution. Replace worn-out sponges frequently.

In the cupboard

Clean and cool, dark and dry, are how you should describe your cupboards. Storing non-refrigerated foods in the cupboard between 50°F and 70°F is the smartest way to keep the bugs away.

Keeping canned foods on hand is smart and practical, but make sure that your stock is rotated. Remember the FIFO method – first in, first out. That means older cans should be up in front so that they are used first. The safest place for a can that is leaking, bulging or cracked, is in the garbage!

Once you have opened a package, make sure that the leftovers are stored in containers that are dry and airtight. This keeps insects out and the flavour in.

Store food safely. Keep chemicals and cleaning agents away from food.

Inside the refrigerator

If there is more mould on your bread than in a pound of blue cheese, or you suddenly notice the remains of last month’s pot roast at the back of your refrigerator, it’s time to get organised. Step one is to keep your refrigerator cold. Most people have no idea what the actual temperature in their refrigerator is.

Since harmful bacteria thrive in warmer temperature, it’s best to keep your refrigerator temperature below 4°C. Spending a few dollars on an inexpensive thermometer is a worthwhile investment. Place it in the centre of the middle shelf for an accurate reading.

The internal temperature of your refrigerator is based on many variables – for example, the amount of food in storage, the frequency of opening the refrigerator door, and the temperature of your kitchen. The best way to monitor the inside cooling temperature of your refrigerator is with a refrigerator thermometer.

Keep raw meat containers on the lowest shelf. This helps to keep any juice from dripping onto other foods. If your refrigerator is overloaded, take the time to get rid of the unnecessary items. Cold air should circulate.

Any fridge can benefit from a thorough wipe-down. Get rid of any splatters. Once any food has passed its prime, get rid of it. Get into the habit of dating your leftovers and get rid of anything that has been stored for more than four days.

Food should not be out of refrigeration for more than two hours. Because, if it is exposed to temperature above 4°C, harmful bacteria will multiply rapidly. In hot weather (above 32°C), the time is reduced to one hour.

If you are not sure that an item is safe to eat, trust your instinct and discard it. Don’t taste it! If there is any sign of mould, that’s another strong reason to dispense with it.

In the freezer

The FIFO method works in the freezer, too. Make sure that your foods are rotated so that you use older items first. An organised freezer makes it easier to find things, too.

Always be prepared

You never know when you will need a little extra on hand. So, stock a supply of non-perishable foods for unexpected needs. Canned fruits, soups and vegetables, peanut butter and nuts are simple staples. Make sure that your emergency stash gets a review every now and then.

Drinking water

Drinking water is the major cause of disease. Full care should be taken. Water for drinking should be boiled as boiling kills all the bacteria and virus. Instead of boiling, ultraviolet water filter can also be used for purifying drinking water in the kitchen.

To ensure safety from LPG leakage:

· Use ISI-mark LPG tubes.

· Always keep the cylinder in a vertical position.

· Regularly check for cracks in the LPG rubber tube.

· Keep the kitchen airy with cross-ventilation.

· Place the gas stove on a raised platform because LPG is heavier than air and tends to settle on the base.

· Do not operate a stove near or facing a window.

· Switch off the regulator when cooking gas is not in use, especially at night.

· Do not repair the gas stove or cylinder yourself. Whenever required, call the expert from the gas agency.

When it leaks…

· Do not operate any electrical switch if you smell LPG leakage.

· Never use a lighted lamp to locate the leak. Use soap water solution.

· Open all doors and windows.

· Call your LPG distributor or Emergency Service Cell.

· Close regulator and burner knob.

How to make your kitchen fuel-efficient:

– Organise your cooking. Keep all ingredients ready for cooking. This will help you cook without delay and thus save gas.
– If you have to stop cooking for a short while, shut off the gas.
– Use a pressure cooker to save gas and reduce cooking time.
– Use the small burner. A large burner consumes 15% more gas.
– Always use flat and shallow vessels.
– Cover the vessel while cooking
– Use the required quantity of water while cooking. Surplus water requires more heating and, therefore more gas.
– Bring out frozen materials well in advance to reach room temperature before cooking.
– If the flame is blue, everything is fine. If the outlet holes are blocked and the flame is yellow, clean the burner or get your stove checked by a mechanic.

With the increase of solid waste generated in the kitchen, it becomes a major source of pollution. Solid waste disposal is also becoming a part of kitchen management. Try kitchen manager (the olden days title of ‘cook’ is obsolete for the new housewife) has to take care of solid waste disposal also. For this, the waste generated in the kitchen should be segregated in the kitchen itself into the biodegradable and the non-degradable. The non-degradable should be put in a separate bin. The biodegradable part may be used to produce bio-fertiliser/organic fertiliser in a pit for the kitchen garden. If the facility does not exist, the biodegradable part may be separately handed over to the garbage collector who will use the same for vermiculture to produce organic manure. With water becoming a scarce commodity in the cities, the kitchen manager should also take care to recycle the waste water generated in the kitchen to be used in the kitchen garden, flower beds, etc.


· Scientific design and layout of the kitchen for light, cross-ventilation etc.

· Better arrangement of kitchen appliances like gas stove, fridge, water filter, racks, cabinet etc.

· Good housekeeping.

· Cleanliness and hygiene.

· Safety (food safety and personal safety).

· Preparation of food without destroying its nutritious values.

· Preservation of vegetables and cooked food.

· Good cooking habits and conservation of fuel.

· Proper disposal of solid waste generated in the kitchen.

· Recycling the waste water from the kitchen in the kitchen garden.