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What About Gender Biases For Women Leaders?

How is it that a man passionate about his work, is an overachiever and a woman is aggressive? These active biases led me to research more...

I have heard enough about the gender biases at the workplace for the women workforce, but what about women leaders?

There are a lot of us out there, running & leading our businesses big or small, developing teams of few or too many, with blue-collar employees or software engineers. But as a women leader, I have faced biases a lot too many. Sometimes from the male employees who find it too hard to be led by a woman or suppliers who doubt if I am the key decision-maker and are looking beyond my shoulder for a male figure, from clients who respect the time of their male bosses more, witnessing sexist remarks in workplaces, or who find a woman being a hustler not too lady types.

Self-doubt and the lack of confidence surround pretty much all of us in comparison to our male counterparts. How women usually are more conservative in their promises viz male counterparts who are not only more liberal but also close to bluffs a lot of times.

How is it that if a man is passionate about his work, he is an overachiever and a woman is aggressive? These active biases led me to research more about this subject, why are women subjected to such biases? Is it me or is it us or is it our mind against us?

While doing so I came across this very interesting and well-written article at Harvard Business Review about women rising and a few eye-opening TED talks.

With the surge in today’s time for image consultants, counselors for emphasizing how we look instead of what we think & achieve, imagine the kind of burden one has to carry of over-investment in one’s image while solving complex business problems. Energies could truly be saved & made available for larger purposes. People who focus on how others perceive them are less clear about their goals, less open to learning from failure, and less capable of self-regulation.

The Competence-Likability trade-off

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While the likability of high potential men increases with their competence, for women it diminishes and we often hear the term ‘aggressive’ instead.

To manage the competence-likability trade-off, the seeming choice between being respected and being liked, women are taught to downplay femininity, soften a hard-charging style, or try to strike a perfect balance between the two. But the time and energy spent on managing these perceptions can ultimately be self-defeating.

Imagine as a business leader, hustling each day for survival & success.

What would you have time for – Competence or Likability?

Our minds against our own

I write this with experience, hurt, and hope. I have seen my mind working against my own, judging myself for my self-worth way too often, giving a front seat to my fears, and juggling with my confidence. My quietness, and attentiveness to hear the audience and taking my time to respond & participate in a conversation for some meaningful input instead of just forsaking, have often got me the feedback to be more assertive. And I have also subconsciously allowed it to creep in.

Speak up!

One of the TedEx speakers said to ‘Speak up’ when you see such biases, and I thought of doing so by writing this post.

If you are reading this and you have witnessed biases too, I just want to say.

I see you. I feel you.

Ping me for a chat if you would want to… (I would love to!)

For the men who read this, I sincerely hope that the next time you would see women rising, or witness a bias, you would empathise & remember that though both genders live in the same world, but what they experience is of two different worlds…

And most importantly, free yourself from these biases. We can’t change others, but we certainly can free ourselves from the heavy burdens of cultural conditioning and unconscious fears.

Originally published at: Kamnahazrati.com

Image Source: RODNAE productions from Pexels, Canva Pro

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About the Author

Kamna Hazrati

Business Consultant, Advisor & Entrepreneur in the Indian startup space for over 13 years, passionate about Women in the workforce, Startups, Young Entrepreneurs, Marketing & Strategy. Business mentor with various programs like Stanford Seed Spark Program, Delhi read more...

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