BOSTON — For these women managers, family life (their own and employees') is a priority. Several don't work weekends or encourage employees to. They don't identify themselves with their jobs; jobs are just one part of who they are. Home and work are integrated. ``It's not hard work that wears you out, but the repression of your true personality, and I've found a way of working that does not demand that,'' says Frances Hesselbein, former head of the Girl Scouts.
Professionalism doesn't mean autonomy and distance. Office space is organized to keep people in touch. In one business, offices circle a glass-sided conference room where employees are encouraged to mingle, the philosophy being that creative ideas often spring from spontaneous meetings.
Keeping relationships in good repair is important. Nancy Badore, executive director of the Ford Motor Company's Executive Development Center, answers every letter within three days and asks everyone else to do the same.
Listening is important. Several of the women refuse to look at their watch while meeting with coworkers, and schedule ``office hours'' for workers to just talk, complain, share ideas. Unscheduled tasks and encounters are not viewed as interruptions, but part of the current of the day, as ways to share information and stay in touch.
Secretaries aren't used as shields but to further communication and public relations.