According to Catalyst, an organization that studies women in the workplace, gender stereotypes still play a major role in how women are judged. If they act consistently with female stereotypes, their competence is questioned. But if their behavior is consistent with that of the stereotypical male, they’re viewed as being too tough.
Catalyst has done these studies all around the world. They’ve found that the characteristics of a good leader vary from region to region. But whatever is considered ideal, women fall short.
So it would seem that women can’t win.
We understand that you can’t change people’s perceptions. To be more direct, you can’t change bias that’s based on stereotypes. You can’t control anyone else.
So why worry about it? Focus on what you CAN control – how you conduct yourself and your business. You are the CEO of the most important organization in the world – YOU, Inc.
So today we’ll offer 3 tips to overcome stereotypes, gender-based or otherwise.
Tip #1 – Be yourself.
You can’t change opinions that can’t be changed. But if people like you, or at least respect you, you’ll succeed. So if you’re a nurturing person, nurture. If you’re assertive, be assertive.
Don’t try to please everybody. Don’t second guess who you are. Don’t try to become what someone else wants you to be. And don’t ever apologize for who you are.
Tip #2 – Promote yourself.
Make sure you’re getting the credit that you deserve. Don’t be so humble. Make sure you keep document what you’ve done. Make your boss aware of it. Then you’ll be in demand – with your current company or a new one.
Tip #3 – If all else fails, find a different workplace.
If your boss or your company isn’t supporting you, move on to a company that will. If you’re not completely ready, start making preparations. And that doesn’t have anything to do with preparation H! This isn’t an easy solution, but you have to go for what you want in life.
Tip #3B – Start your own business.
Create a workplace where you’d like to work. That’s the motivation for a lot of women starting a business. And women are starting businesses today at three times the rate of men.
Turning stereotypes upside down
Here’s something that we found very interesting – traits that are often viewed as negatives in the corporate world are being turned into advantages in the entrepreneurial world.
Margaret Heffernan wrote a great book, How She Does It: How Women Entrepreneurs Are Changing the Rules of Business. She says that female entrepreneurs emphasize values and relationships. They create a culture that includes employees, customers, and the community at large.
The result – they are building companies that last AND make a contribution. Doesn’t that sound like good leadership?
How have you beat stereotypes, gender or otherwise?
Share it with us by leaving a Comment below!
Our bigg quote is by Anonymous.
Next time, we’ll sit down at the negotiating table for some delicious tips to negotiate your next deal. The women are having steak … the men are having quiche … how’s that for beating stereotypes?
Until then, here’s to your bigg success!