Gender equality at work is great. But it is a fact that some managerial struggles are more typical of women than men. During corporate therapy sessions with female managers of all levels it has caught our ears that a lot of them struggle with the 3 same issues. (1) Balancing femininity with power, (2) asking for help from fellow colleagues, and (3) making disruptive changes in the workplace. Some psychological reasons behind these struggles, and a few helpful action steps described below. Get acquainted with your own or your female colleague’s Corporate Self!
Balancing Femininity with Power
The psychology. Too many female leaders still fear to acknowledge that they are female at work. As if the only “right” way to be a “good” manager were to be a man. They fear that they need to “talk like a man” to sound credible. So, they try to change themselves to advance in their careers, until being in the position becomes unbearable.
What helps? Acknowledging the variety of management styles, including the feminine. Realizing that taking a soft approach does not equal being unknowledgeable. And that caring about your employees does not rob a company of profits. This mental leap, first and foremost, has to take place in “the black box” of the female managers themselves.
Asking for Help When in Charge
The psychology. Many many many times female managers fear to ask for help from fellow employees because they fear that they will be seen as unable. Especially if they are in direct charge of the project. Funny thing is, male managers ask for help all the time, and see no problem. And this is something to learn from them. So...
What helps? Realizing that best results come when employees cooperate, ask for help, and provide help. Understanding that asking is just like helping out a colleague - a necessary part of any job. Separating between being unable and simply turning to someone who can save time or effort. Accepting that you are still entitled to credit, if you ask for help from your team members.
Making Disruptive Changes
The psychology. Change management is the keyword of the XXI c. workplace. And it has the potential to become part of business as usual. While gradual evolutionary change is very well managed by females, the disruptive change is much harder for them to exercise. Why? Because they fear being called disruptive themselves. The corporate world has bought into the idea of the nurturing female leader so much, they won’t allow for variation. And variation is inevitable. If big change is to be made, “disruptive” has a positive connotation. Whatever the sex of the manager.
What helps? Embracing the fact that disruptive change is hard and adversity is the price. Understanding “the why” behind the disruptive change. Learning to separate between feedback and “the noise”. Building one’s corporate self esteem before building a career.
To conclude, female power is a real deal at work. And there is absolutely no need to ignore it. Instead, embracing it allows for more conscious and more rapid growth at work. Corporate therapy sessions with female managers show that they often fall prey to their own unrealistic and unnecessary self-imposed fears. Which get in the way of enjoying one’s corporate life to the full.
Want to grow your Corporate Self or think your company could benefit from Corporate Therapy sessions? Contact our leading corporate therapist, and let’s talk: www.yobusiness.eu/contacts