Change our language habits. Assume a position of power. Exchange clothes that are called “without power.” There is much advice on how female leaders can become more confident and assertive.
These tips are certainly useful, but they are inherently one-sided. The good news is that times can change as more and more leaders understand the tremendous benefits of balanced leadership between men and women.
“The men are starting to meet us halfway,” says author Joanne Lipman. “They are re-calibrating their behavior, just as women are recalibrating it, making a one-way conversation a lot stronger.”
In her recent book, “This is what she said: What men need to know (and women should tell them) about cooperation” (Morrow, 2018), Joanne discusses three common myths about women at work – and gives advice, such as It allows every employee to feel welcome and appreciated.
Myth # 1: Women make bad leaders because they are not endangered
Every company sometimes has to take strategic risks to compete. But the belief of the Mad Men era that women can not make such tough choices is wrong. Women leaders can take strategic risks and even reduce unnecessary risks.
“Adding women to the work teams reduces risky behavior, such as the financial moves that plunged the economy in 2008,” said Joanne. “Women’s finance firms make fewer acquisitions better than male financial managers, and female executives make more profitable acquisitions and carry less debt than male executives.”
Joanne points out that gender-differentiated management teams can achieve higher financial returns than those with consistent leadership. When men and women work together, everyone benefits.
“Several studies have shown that adding women to all-male teams leads to greater financial success,” says Joanne. “The companies with the highest number of women on the board outperform those with the lowest financial outlook, and companies with at least half of the board made up of women earn 19% above average.”
By taking steps to reduce the unconscious bias and recruit the best person for the job, companies that have diversified their teams found that it is a good thing for the company. As Joanne says, the volleyball coach who chooses the best players in the class is not half.
“They see gender equality as a business necessity,” she says. You must choose the best time of all available talents and leave half of the population out of nowhere. ”
Myth # 2: Women talk more than men
The idea that women talk more than men has been making headlines lately. Last year, Uber board member Arianna Huffington stressed the need to have more women on the board, but jokingly interrupted a board member saying that women talked too much. But Joanne points out that research indicates the opposite.
“Although [some] recognize that women speak more than men, they do not even have the same time in group discussions, unless they represent a majority of 60 to 80 percent of the group,” she said.
Part of the problem is that women are interrupted more often. One group that has learned this from both sides is transsexual people. Joanne pointed to Ben Barres, a biologist at Stanford University who talked about his experiences. After finding his true gender identity, Ben says his colleagues, who did not know he was a transgender, had more respect for his job than his “sister” – and heard exactly what he had to say.
“I thought a million times: I’m taken more seriously,” Ben writes. “I can even finish a sentence without being interrupted by a man.”
To avoid this, in meetings you can define a rule without breaks. This means that no one, male or female, is allowed to interrupt another person while he or she is talking so everyone has the opportunity to share their ideas.
This technique worked well for Glen Mazara, the former showrunner of The Walking Dead. While working on the Los Angeles thriller The Shield, Glen fought for a diverse author’s space to create a dialogue for various performers. But he quickly realized that female writers had a difficult fight for their ideas because they were constantly interrupted. After creating the “no break” rule, he found that the entire team was more efficient.
“Men who are aware of this dynamic can best change that,” says Joanne.
Myth 3: Women do not progress because they focus more on the family
It is true that some women (and some men) leave the labor market to devote themselves to their families, but that is not as common as the prevailing myth suggests. In the United States alone, 70% of mothers work for children under 18 years of age.
This misunderstanding can cause additional problems for women. Male and female leaders could probably discourage mothers from strong opportunities without offering their choice.
“At many meetings in various companies, I heard […] someone propose a woman for a plum roll and a response for executives:” She’s great, but she’ll never want to move, “she laments Joanne Or: “She would be perfect, but she has small children, she could not travel.”
If you ever think that a person (man or woman) for some reason does not want a chance, go back and ask. A quick e-mail or phone booth does not seem like a big deal, but it shows all employees that they are appreciated. Even if they do not take advantage of it, it is always good for them to know that they have been taken into account.
“Do not decide for her,” advises Joanne. “Let her make that decision herself.”
Awareness and understanding are crucial to diversity and inclusion
By understanding women’s experiences and dispelling common myths and unconscious biases, you can have a huge impact on your diversity and inclusion efforts. This not only helps you hire more exceptional women, but also keeps them.
“The key is consciousness,” says Joanne. “Once you’ve seen these things, you can not get them back, I’m more attentive to what they were when people were interrupted or ignored.”
A significant change comes only from a place of consciousness and understanding. So take the time to evaluate how it works now and where you might have blind spots, and then take steps to make things better for everyone.