And this kind of empathetic management style is both gay and straight benefiting employees. When Brian Wachur, 23, wasn’t getting the promotion he’d been waiting for at his D.C. PR firm, he approached his gay manager, Jason Smith. “I was nervous about what he was going to say, but he was able to tell me where I could improve in a really constructive way,” he says. “It was a big contrast to other managers I had had in the past.” Wachur soon got the new title, and he now considers Smith his professional mentor. “It’s definitely surprising to me that I have a 38-year-old gay male in my life who is such a huge influence.”

Matthew Klein says that working for a gay boss has taught him that emotionally honest doesn’t equate to weak in the workplace. “Your typical hetero male is programmed as a boy that there are two emotions: angry and tired,” he says. “These are gross limitations that restrict our ability to be great managers.”

But being gay doesn’t give you a monopoly on management skills. “The only managers that succeed are ones that have energy and are outgoing and interested,” says Richard Laermer, the gay CEO of a New York–based PR firm and co-author of Punk Marketing: Get Off Your Ass and Join the Revolution. “If that’s a gay thing, then mazel tov, but I know the same number of straight managers who are emotional and caring.” And one gay vice president at a financial firm says his leadership traits come from his life history, not from anything related to his sexual orientation. “I was in the military, in a fraternity, and played a varsity sport,” he says. “I feel like I spend my life explaining that what I’m saying or doing has nothing to do with the fact that I’m gay.”

That said, if your new boss happens to be gay, chances are you’ll be happier and more fulfilled in your job. And even if you’re not, the consolation is that there’s still one area in which he’s likely to excel. Says Smith, “We throw the fiercest holiday parties.”