Women in the workplace (especially as they move up the ranks) commonly face what’s known as the double-bind. If we are assertive and take charge, we are viewed as competent but often not liked. If we gravitate toward being more nurturing and communicative, we’re liked but viewed as less competent.
Apparently no one got the memo that women are fucking amazing and are perfectly capable of handling BOTH and switching from one mode to the other when the situation calls for it.
And that my friends is the key to successful leadership whether you are a man or a woman. Great leaders are AGILE and are comfortable striking a balance – knowing when to push and when to pull back. But understandably, that’s tougher to do and something we could all be better at.
The problem especially for many women (I’ve been there!) is that we’re generally so uncomfortable with the idea of not being liked that we’d rather lean too far into being caring and nurturing.
We as women, need to get over ourselves and go for it. We live in a world where women make up 40% of the workforce yet make up just 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs. The way I see it, I’d rather face the risk of being viewed as overly assertive (or bossy) because I ask for what I want – vs. not even making the ask.
Could that potentially backfire? It might.
But when you think about it,
If there is a choice to be made, my guess is you’d rather be respected than liked.
We need more women to break out of dated gender stereotypes, so we can create a world in which assertive women who make the ask ARE THE NORM.
And in the process – we may just create a future where our daughters will never have to face this double bind.