Why Doesn't the Devil Wear Brooks Bros.?

As a work force, Americans are quick to bash a woman manager who is tough and demanding. We balk as she barks orders and belittles subordinates.

Plenty of people are talking about the woman boss from hell with the release of the movie "The Devil Wears Prada," starring Meryl Streep as the devil and Anne Hathaway as her suffering assistant.

Being nasty, critical and demeaning to employees is nothing for any boss to be proud of. … But as we all know, we're hardly as critical if the person doing the shouting wears a suit and tie.

Quick: Would tales of terror have been a best-seller and a major motion picture if the bullying boss donned Brooks Bros.? It's doubtful.

Women in network news have long complained about this double standard when the media write about supposed catfights between them while ignoring the sharp-elbowed competition that everyone knows goes on between rival male anchors and correspondents.

When Russell Crowe tossed a heavy phone at a hotel clerk, we were mildly amused at his impatience.

When Naomi Campbell threw a cell phone at her assistant, she was labeled an out-of-control prima donna.

Both stars misbehaved, but our societal bias caused us to be a lot more critical of Campbell. Not fair.

While many women managers deserve the criticism that's heaped on them, others receive it unfairly.

We often hold a woman to a different standard when she's the boss. Women also are often even harder on other women, which makes it even more difficult for the boss lady.

Women have the expectation that their female superiors will treat them like girlfriends. When that doesn't happen, we're hurt.

Unfortunately, we fail to realize that it's unrealistic for anyone to expect bosses -- male or female -- to coddle and comfort. Yet, women often want just that from their gal pal managers.

The best rule of thumb is to apply the same standards and expectations to any boss -- man or woman -- and know it's his or her individual management style that will make or break the relationship.

Don't allow yourself to foolishly dismiss an entire gender based on a bad experience here and there.

To connect directly with Tory Johnson or for other information on career advancement, visit www.womenforhire.com

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