Stop conforming to outdated stereotypes.
This is a guest post by Dana Manciagli. If you’d also like to guest post here on JobMob, follow these guest post guidelines.
Even though working women have been a growing force in our global economy for decades, there are still indicators that women’s career gains – not just economic gains – have been frustratingly limited. I believe that women can do so much more to take control and accountability for their careers and realize the economic gains they aspire to.
After a 30-year career in I.T. and other male-dominated industries, I have witnessed women’s great success stories and self-sabotaging behaviors and characteristics.
Here are three myths that need to be debunked:
1) Women only do well economically in “female-dominated” industries.
Large differences in the proportion of men and women in different fields suggests that some women may deliberately avoid male-dominated industries, perhaps because they feel they will be unwelcome there.
On the economic front, new research by compensation analysts at Payscale might hearten working women. Payscale crunched numbers on compensation and other factors in dozens of fields and extracted insights that suggest women are making larger strides than are often recognized.
2) Men view women as different enough to be disruptive.
It’s plain to see that women and men simply approach work differently, and that has nothing to do with qualifications.
After more than 50 years since the beginning of the “second” women’s movement, the workplace has been filled with highly skilled and accomplished women, whose education and backgrounds are on par with their male counterparts. However, the overwhelming majority of C-suite, executive, and senior management jobs in corporate America still remains in the hands of men.
According to Teena Rose, an executive resume writer, “the workplace hasn’t become an all-out, battle royale of the sexes. In most professions men and women have gotten used to working together. But it stands to reason that the contrasting styles can lead to a breakdown in communication, a vital component in any successful business. But not to fear, men and women are more alike than different. Some may find that hard to believe, but it’s actually possible to improve cross-gender communication and smooth out the rough edges.”
If you’re a woman who has frequent interactions with men at work, you will be overwhelmingly successful if you recognize one simple rule:
Men think differently.
And with that knowledge comes power:
- Men talk to get information. While women also talk to get information, there is an added component of personal interaction. It’s rare that women will talk “just to chat.”
- Women tend to ask more questions than men. Men sometimes see excessive questioning as a sign of weakness.
Men hate asking for help or direction, as it is a sign of weakness. Women can’t understand this phenomenon because they’re more intuitive than men and have no problem asking for help. To deal with this touchy subject at work, women can approach this in an easy-going manner and offer a man help, “If he feels he needs it.”
- A woman who shares her feelings with a male co-worker is displaying trust, while men look more toward consistency and reliability as a marker.
3) Women need to act more like men to get ahead.
This is where the high heels come in. News flash: Women are not men. Women are women. New research in the U.K. shows that many women are conforming to outdated stereotypes and acting “like an alpha male” to succeed at work – including dressing like a man, hiding “girlie” emotions, and being outspoken.
The research, by telecommunications firm O2, suggests the lack of female role models at the top of business is partly to blame for why so many women felt the need to look or act like their male colleagues to succeed. Why do many modern women still feel the pressure to conform to outdated stereotypes?
The fact is, men and women who know how to position and market themselves are more successful. Vicki Milazzo, author of Wicked Success is Inside Every Woman, says, “To match the success men can have in the business world, women need to be comfortable with talking about their achievements. It’s not about lying or exaggerating. It's about ultra-positioning. Clearly, we females need to take a page from the male playbook and make sure that we're getting the recognition and credit we've earned.”
Career success for women is trending in a positive direction, albeit slowly in some areas. Achieving our career goals is hard enough, ladies, without the burden of these outdated myths. Shed them and move forward!
About the Author
Dana Manciagli is a career expert, international speaker and private career coach. She has spent more than 30 years as a Fortune 500 sales and marketing executive, now retired after more than a decade at Microsoft as general manager of worldwide sales. Dana is the author of the book, “Cut the Crap, Get a Job!” and a prolific blogger, including a national weekly “Career Mojo” column in all Business Journals. She sits on the worldwide board of Junior Achievement and received her MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Contact her at http://DanaManciagli.com.
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