Women have it tough. Besides their period, and its emotional rollercoaster and suffering, childbearing responsibility, women are still disadvantaged today all over the world. Furthermore, in some parts of the world, young girls are forced to prepare themselves to be young mothers and wives. Less education to none at all and marrying at a young age causes many girls to depend on men. Otherwise, in western countries, those problems are mostly gone. Women have the same chance to raise in terms of their careers. But, women are less represented in leading positions than men. Even though, they have the same access to higher education and the same qualification as men. What is the difference? Why are there fewer women at the management level than men? How to claim a leading position as a woman? Let’s please your mind.
The Problem with the Woman’s Stereotype
Let set it clear. The typical woman cannot get a leading position like men. They can, but it is a lot of work, and keeping the right mindset every time is essential. There are typically two stereotypes of women at work. The Cute-One and the Cold-One.
You know this kind of girl. A woman who projects 100% warmth. When you see her – ”She is such a sweetheart!” – will pop into your mind. You can guarantee that she will take care of you and will listen to your problems. On the other hand, she has zero confidence and assertiveness, is insecure, and overall shows no strength. In this case, she is the perfect comforter whose traits are only emotional and social. But, ambition and intellect are missing in this picture. Of course, this picture is fading but it is far from gone.
With this in mind, women are seen as less competent than men and are not offered the same position with the same qualification as men.
This is the cold-hearted woman you experienced yourself or shown in movies. A woman, who does not play by the rules and she does not know ‘her place in the world of men. Staying at home with kids? Subordinate themselves below men? Not with her! In addition, she consciously decides to use strength instead of warmth, opposite to the Cute-One. And this is the unfairness that women have to deal with. Every time, women behave like men, they are punished for it! All women who use solely strength, like anger, its most extreme trait of strength, are seen as cold, angry, resentful, and generally unpleasant.
Why? Because, every time strength (anger) is shown, women are getting penalty points for violating the stereotype(warmth). And warmth is the main trait of women. Men showing strength is socially acceptable. When a woman does, people ask if she had PMS. Even women are judging each other negatively when the stereotype of a woman is damaged.
Therefore, women need to be more skilled and hard-working to get a higher position than men. In addition, every kind of mistake is stronger penalized for women’s status and competence. When women have kids, they are seen as more warmth, but less strong. Not for men. Also, a female leader has it hard. Men who work under her are seen as less masculine, consequently, are paid less. This is why it is more difficult to find qualified men to hire. Women have it harder. It is common and well-known in the world
How to get a leading position as a woman without seeming as cold or weak
The trick is to show strength without losing warmth. When a woman display strength they are seen as cold. In addition, violating the stereotype will not help a woman at all. Let me explain some strategies you should apply as soon as possible.
#1. Assertive, not angry
Women who show anger, risk being defined solely in terms of emotion. Instead, they can show disapproval without triggering the ‘anger backlash’ reaction by making clear they are in full control of their emotion and are choosing to express their disapproval.
There is a difference between reacting and respond. If the chance is given to send a signal without losing warmth, that is always the best way to go.
But mostly, you have to play the strength card. A trick used by mothers and teachers is the stone and serious look. With this, they will see that you are dead serious. Strength is not about burst into anger and shouts out what you want, it is about being assertive, determined, and firm, but also being calm and under control. Showing your disapproval or what you want in a calm behavior is the strategy to go. Furthermore, if you add appropriate humor, your desired position will get closer to you.
#2. Getting tough for the good of the group
A study by Victoria Brescoll and Eric Uhlmann at Yale looked at reactions women have in different situations. Summed up, if women have a specific reason to be angry they will not lose any points in strength or warmth, even honor, and are seem more competent.
For example, she gets angry because she and her colleague blew up an important transaction. She will lose points in strength (damaging the company) and also losing points of warmth(she is angry about her failure, a woman unable to control herself).
The research shows that women can show strength in specific situations without losing warmth. She can express anger when her colleague lied to her about an important meeting. In fact, here she seems more competent and deserves a better status because she shows anger because of her colleague’s lack of honesty and teamwork.
#3. Show your intention
The key – to project your warmth at work, is to display your intentions. If you share the same concern and care of your colleagues that you work for the good of this project/group, that shows strength and will sooner or later turn to show warmth.
It does not matter what the goal is, as long as you want what the team wants, you showing warmth at its peak – and with that also shows strength.
If you show your intention for the goal of the group, showing strength will interpret as expressions of warmth.
Summary – How to claim a leading position as a woman
If you want to show your competence as a leader, always, always show your intention that you work for the good of the group. Furthermore, if everything you do and how you react helps the group to get to their goal you will win in strength and warmth. If you get angry that one of your team members is lazy and stop the current project, you will not lose in terms of warmth, but as a plus, you will win in terms of strength. As a result, everyone will see you as a competent, fair, dependable, and good-heart manager. Remember this.
Never show anger. Unless men, women are getting punished by showing anger, it’s an extreme form of strength. I recommend always to stay calm, even if someone attacks you personally. Fight back with humor and great one-liners. Being in control is always better than bursting into anger. But, if you must, make clear to everyone that your anger is based on a solid reason to maintain the good or the goal of the group.
Women are more seen as competent if it comes to internal conflicts. They are more trusted with interactions between people. Like, emotional and communicational. Use this to your advantage!
To break the stereotype of women is still not in the near future. As long as these stereotypes remain, adapt to the circumstances, and follow that advice. And then I think you will have a better chance to claim a leading position.
I hope you could learn something today.