Even in 2017, women have not achieved equality in the workplace. That applies to all industries and sizes of companies. Why? Experts believe it stems at least in part from unconscious bias. The only way to break the cycle is to keep your thoughts and attitudes in check. That includes both male and female leaders in HR.
Consider the following assumptions. Have you found yourself subscribing to any of these? We are likely guilty of at least a few of these.
- Men can “fake it till they make it.”
Oftentimes a female candidate will apply for a job only if she has all the stated qualifications, while a male peer might go for even if he’s only somewhat qualified. I believe this is the case because women are expected to prove themselves, while men expect they won’t need to justify.
- What men say always matters.
A textbook example of this inter-gender dynamic is a typical business meeting. How often does it happen that a woman will propose an idea in a meeting and it will go unnoticed or discounted? A male colleague suggests the same thing and it’s all ears. This is a particularly insidious bias, because if the man’s ideas are the only ones remembered, it further reinforces gender stereotypes—that men are more creative, intelligent, and better leaders.
- Physical appearance dictates success (or failure).
Women are faced with unrealistic expectations about how they should look. Many women feel like it’s a part-time job keeping up with all the trends just to stay relevant. Such expectations only result in half of the workforce feeling insufficient and compensating with an absurd amount of time and money spent on beauty and weight loss products. This is a vicious cycle because then men think that women are petty and not to be taken seriously.
These biases are systematic, meaning they are so ingrained into our culture, it’s hard to even recognize them. The point is for everyone to be a little more conscientious of their preconceived notions. And then we can all work to make the workplace a little more equitable.
Written By Toni Widman
As I have said before, great leaders are made—not born. That means they are always working on themselves so they can grow and better lead their teams. The most effective leaders have successfully embraced these 5 concepts:
- Begin with the end in mind. You can’t meet a goal if it’s not clearly defined. Exemplary leaders lay out objectives for themselves (and their staff) that have clear, measurable and trackable metrics.
- Be the best version of you. No one likes a phony. Identify your unique leadership style, and then adjust accordingly to circumstances and the dynamics of your team. Your employees don’t want Sheryl Sandberg as their boss, they want YOU. Always be improving but don’t try to become something or someone you are not, at the risk of creating distance.
Research shows that people with high levels of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) tend to have greater career success, higher performance, stronger personal relations, more effective leadership skills, and are generally healthier than those with low emotional intelligence. Organizations should start taking interest in how they can help current employees increase EQ while seeking candidates with already high levels.
- Don’t wait for the opportunity—create it. You don’t need to be in the C-suite to gain respect as a leader. The potential for greatness exists at any level of seniority. Say yes to responsibility and rise to greatness. Walk the walk and talk the talk.
- Lead by example. Leaders don’t just manage employees — they exhibit qualities like accountability, transparency, and advocacy. They mentor employees and help everyone around them become better versions of themselves.
- Validate employees. Effective leaders know one deliverable could represent weeks of hard work by one individual employee or team. To that end, they offer validation, encouragement and reward positive behavior. They don’t take quality people for granted.
Written By Toni Widman
Our new website is finally up. We’ve worked hard to get a beautiful new site ready and we’re proud to show it off. Thanks for reading our blog. We have lots of great blog posts in the works. Please check back or contact us now to find out how we can help you.