It’s unfortunate that men are viewed more positively for exactly the same behavior that you exhibit in any setting.
A woman’s role is based on the stereotype that men take charge; they are tough and competent whereas women take care; they are warm, nice, kind and compassionate. As a female executive, as long as you continue to face the double bind, you will need ways to manage it. Here are some:
- Interrupt Bias
Learn to speak up if and when you notice colleagues using words that reinforce negative gender stereotypes. Phrases like; she’s so emotional, she talks too much, she’s too harsh..e.t.c. These kinds of words undermine a woman’s perceived competence and ability to lead.
- Be A Visible Champion
Actively promote the accomplishments of women and advocate for their development and enhancement. You will serve as a powerful model for others to do the same.
- Use Same Standards For Men And Women
When formally evaluating employees, try to reverse the gender of the employee in your mind to see if it makes a difference in your language and assessment.
- Be Tough On Tasks And Soft On People
Understand that in a particular setting, you can vehemently disagree on an issue and still remain friends when you walk out of the room. Learn to separate that. What matters most is that you come together as a team and accomplish your intended goals.
- Maintain Distance But Be Approachable
To generate respect, keep a distance from other employees while also working to convey your intimate human side so as to be seen as accessible, warm, social, friendly and easy to connect with. For instance, try to dress more formally than others on weekdays and go informal on Fridays to show that you are not stiff and unapproachable.
- Go In Order
In the beginning be nice, caring and collaborative, then later be tough, demanding and direct. This helps to build relationships, establish trust and to engage people then follow up with harder behavior or language to challenge the status quo and achieve the desired results.