Monday, March 7, 2011
Do You Feel Intimidated By Confident Women?
An illuminating psychological study, conducted by child behaviouralist Deborah Tannen, revealed some noticeable differences between young girls and boys. In summary, the research found that little boys tend to regard confident, alpha boys as ‘leaders’ whereas little girls tend to see confident, alpha girls as ‘bossy’.
Isn’t that a fascinating perceptual difference?
‘Confidence’ to boys is seen as a strength; being self-assertive is a skill to aspire to have. Girls, on the other hand, seem to find confidence in their own kind a real turn off and, from what this research implies, a negative way to be perceived by others.
The media continues to be saturated with comment about blatant gender imbalance in the workplace. You have probably seen some of the statistics: at senior management level women represent only 30% of roles in Australia; women hold fewer than 5% of senior executive positions; across the board, women earn 18% less than men...
The blame is often placed on ‘antiquated organisational structures’ and the view that ‘men only promote other men'.
Could it be possible however, that this imbalance is partly due to the fact that women halt their own progression for fear of what other people, particularly other women, might think of them?
If any of this rings true, here are some tips to overcome this perceived obstacle:
1. Acknowledge that there is a big difference between ‘assertion’ and ‘arrogance’ - when we are confident in an assertive way, we demonstrate leadership. We take charge whilst taking other people into account. People who behave with arrogance make poor leaders. They trample over others and in turn alienate them. Note: arrogance is often an indication that the individual is struggling internally with a lack of confidence.
2. It is essential to be authentic and find a tone of voice that best suits you and your personal brand. If you want to find out more about 'personal branding' join us on our teleseminars and workshops!
3. Seek out the strengths of your work first, before scouring it for weaknesses. All too often we women pinpoint the one thing that is out of place, rather than acknowledging all the 534 things that are not!
4. Avoid mind-reading at all costs... unless you ask, you won't know for sure what anyone else thinks of you.
If we women assert ourselves, actively self-promote our value and behave with a confident air we will inadvertently win the respect of others.
For surely, the real reason why so many little girls, and grown women alike, sneer at the confident women around them, is because they secretly wish they could have the nerve to act that confidently themselves.
What are your thoughts?