WHAT YOU CAN LEARN FROM YOUR MALE COWORK­ERS

It’s 2017 and women are still get­ting the short end of the stick. Is there some­thing the men we share an of­fice with know that we don’t?

Cosmopolitan (Philippines) - - Contents -

Take a page from their book.

Quick ques­tion: What qual­i­ties or traits do you as­so­ci­ate with great lead­ers? I’ll give you a minute. Here’s a fol­low up: When you imag­ine th­ese things, who do you pic­ture? Chances are you rat­tled off a list that in­cludes qual­i­ties like in­tel­li­gence, drive, am­bi­tion, strength, and con­fi­dence, and that you pic­tured a man.

Don’t turn your fem­i­nist card in just be­cause you thought those things, though. You are far from alone. For decades, if not cen­turies, we’ve been told that men make bet­ter lead­ers for pos­sess­ing, some­times even sup­pos­edly hav­ing a mo­nop­oly on, th­ese qual­i­ties. This is de­spite sev­eral stud­ies prov­ing that women are just as—if not more—ca­pa­ble than their male peers. With all that con­di­tion­ing, we’re in­clined to be­lieve the myths of com­mand­ing men and timid women that we’re fed.

A sweep­ing gen­er­al­iza­tion, for sure, and not the gospel truth in any case. The time of “Think Man­ager, Think Male,” is com­ing to an end, with com­pa­nies shift­ing to a more trans­for­ma­tional style of lead­er­ship and putting more stock in more tra­di­tion­ally “fem­i­nine” traits like com­pas­sion, warmth, and gen­tle­ness. How to be an ef­fec­tive, suc­cess­ful leader, af­ter all, is ac­quired, not some­thing you were born with, and it is most def­i­nitely not de­pen­dent on your gen­der. How­ever, ev­ery great leader knows there’s al­ways more to learn, so we’ve run down some traits com­monly as­so­ci­ated with men at work, and the steps you can take to in­te­grate them into your own work­ing style...as­sum­ing you’d want to. Be­cause who’s to say that one per­son, re­gard­less of gen­der, can’t be all of th­ese and more?

en are more open about their am­bi­tion.

When was the last time you asked for a meet­ing with your boss to talk about where your ca­reer is go­ing? Un­for­tu­nately, am­bi­tion in a

woman is still frowned upon, and con­sid­ered con­tra­dic­tory to her role as nur­turer and care­giver. “Women are nat­u­rally raised to be peo­ple pleasers and to ex­press more ‘fem­i­nine’ traits—to be nur­tur­ing, help­ful, kind, car­ing,” says life coach Au­rora M. Suarez. “When a lit­tle girl is loud, ex­presses her opin­ion too strongly and prefers to play with the boys, she’s called a tomboy or asked why she’s so sassy. But when a lit­tle girl is play­ing with her dolls and tea sets, when she asks nicely for things, when she keeps her legs crossed, she is praised and given pos­i­tive re­in­force­ment.”

While there’s truly noth­ing wrong with be­ing any of those things, Suarez says, “This makes it more dif­fi­cult for her to show her am­bi­tion which re­quires speak­ing up, ask­ing for what she needs, con­tra­dict­ing oth­ers, and not agree­ing with the sta­tus quo.” She adds, “An am­bi­tious woman goes against the im­age of what a ‘proper woman’ should be.”

What this does, then, is cre­ate a pro­fes­sional who, de­spite her skills and all the hopes and dreams she’s fos­tered, is afraid to ex­press her de­sire to climb the cor­po­rate lad­der for fear of be­ing trashed. But men aren’t born want­ing more than women, and we have ev­ery right to want the same suc­cess, so we need to flip the switch in our heads that tells us we can only openly want so much. In truth, ex­press­ing our am­bi­tion and our ac­com­plish­ments does more than serve the sin­gle pur­pose of per­sonal achieve­ment. There is no bet­ter role model for a fe­male ju­nior mem­ber of a team than a woman who has beaten an of­ten dif­fi­cult path to suc­cess, so go­ing for your goals and be­ing open about them could just be the in­spi­ra­tion a younger co­worker needs.

Men are More di­rect.

And we don’t just mean about where they want their ca­reers to go. Whether it’s ne­go­ti­at­ing com­pen­sa­tion, ben­e­fits, or even time off, men typ­i­cally have an eas­ier time ex­press­ing their wants and needs from a com­pany, and are will­ing to go the ex­tra mile to get what they feel they de­serve.

Leena Nair, Unilever’s global head of hu­man re­sources, says, “Half the men who talk to me [about com­pen­sa­tion pack­ages] ask me ‘Can I also get my lawyer to speak with you?’” It’s a seem­ingly mi­nor ques­tion, but it speaks vol­umes about the lengths we’re will­ing (or un­will­ing) to go to when try­ing to get what we want and feel we de­serve. We be­lieve we’re lucky to even have the jobs we hold, and while that holds true for ei­ther gen­der, we should also re­al­ize that the term “com­pen­sa­tion” is an ac­cu­rate one in that it must re­flect the work we do and how much we con­trib­ute to a com­pany—which could be more than we’re ac­knowl­edg­ing and ac­cept­ing.

Men are also typ­i­cally much more open at meet­ings or pre­sen­ta­tions, shar­ing ideas (great or not), whereas women are more in­clined to re­main silent—even when they have ex­cel­lent strate­gies or have con­struc­tive crit­i­cism—for fear of be­ing chal­lenged or start­ing a con­flict. We’re scared of be­ing seen as in­tim­i­dat­ing, of rock­ing the boat, of hurt­ing feel­ings, and even of be­ing dis­ap­pointed by the re­ac­tion our words are go­ing to gar­ner. But be­ing di­rect and let­ting your voice be heard is one tenet of build­ing your “ex­ec­u­tive pres­ence,” a qual­ity in­te­gral to ca­reer suc­cess. Stay­ing silent, while seem­ingly a safe de­ci­sion, hurts the per­cep­tion of one’s abil­ity to lead in the long run—strong lead­ers are able to voice out their opin­ions not only to make things hap­pen and pro­tect their in­ter­ests, but their teams’ and their com­pa­nies’ as well.

Men are More con­fi­dent.

We are all rid­dled with in­se­cu­rity. We worry about whether we look pro­fes­sional, whether we’re do­ing a good job, whether we’re be­ing too much or not enough of some­thing. Men, how­ever, rarely let th­ese in­se­cu­ri­ties show—in fact, they’re shown to be more con­fi­dent in their skills and per­for­mance, lead­ing them to ex­plore new ideas, go for their goals, max­i­mize their net­works to get the re­sults they want, and even just keep try­ing even in the face of ad­ver­sity and fail­ure.

Granted, it may be eas­ier for a man to be con­fi­dent in an en­vi­ron­ment that has his­tor­i­cally fa­vored one gen­der over an­other, but this shouldn’t be a rea­son to fall vic­tim to your demons. In fact, what you might be in­se­cure about now could be the very things that even­tu­ally lead you to suc­cess.

“I be­lieve in us­ing your strengths. And there are strengths in your wom­an­ity,” shares Suarez. “Your charm can be a source of power. Your nur­tur­ing skills will make oth­ers want to help you. Your re­source­ful­ness can lead you to achieve your goals. You don’t have to give up your au­then­tic self to com­pro­mise your ideals or your dreams.”

She adds, “Com­pro­mis­ing who you are—your strengths, val­ues, ideals—is the big­gest dis­ser­vice you can do to your­self and to the peo­ple who hired you. It sends the mes­sage that you are not enough, that you are not wor­thy, that you need to change who you are to be ac­cepted. And if your cur­rent work en­vi­ron­ment can­not ac­cept you for who you are, then you might want to con­sider if it’s still the right place for you.”

“We’re scared of be­ing seen as in­tim­i­dat­ing, of rock­ing the boat, of hurt­ing feel­ings.”

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