In this fast-paced business world, female leaders need to make sure they’re not perceived as pushy, aggressive, or competent. Having female leaders in positions of influence to serve as role models is not only critical to the career advancement of women. Powerful female leaders are hugely self-aware; but are also highly tapped into their team’s emotions and stand to generate broader societal impacts on pay equity, changing workplace policies in ways that benefit both men and women, and attracting a more diverse workforce. They should have the ability to be owners of their own actions, to take action, and, ultimately, to lead their lives.
The problem with women leaders, founders, and executives, is that more often than not, they find themselves in roles and companies that make them the only woman in the room. As a woman in business, she knows a lot about the infamous gender gap. Many of them either struggle with it still or have felt its burden upon them. Society at large still has a way to go before accepting, prizing, and encouraging the full input that women leaders, founders, and inventors can make in the world. So here are some of the non-threatening leadership strategies for women.
Setting a deadline:
Setting deadlines and sticking to them can help you avoid making promises you can’t keep. When all your tasks have a clear deadline, it is typically easier to determine which activities you have time for and for which ones you don’t. When setting a deadline, ask your coworker what he thinks of doing something, instead of just asking him to get it done. This makes him feel less like you’re telling them what to do and more as you care about his opinions.
Sharing your ideas:
No matter how great an idea is, there is always room for improvement. When you share an idea, you open it to outside input, and that can take the plan to a whole new level. Outside opinions widen your perspective, which helps you develop an idea even more. When sharing your ideas, overconfidence is a killer. You don’t want your male coworkers to think you’re getting all uppity. Instead, downplay your ideas as just thinking out loud, or sharing something, dumb, throwing something out there, or crazy and random.
It’s fine to ask for time to reflect on an argument or to tell someone who deeply hurt you that you no longer wish to speak to them. But ignoring a person to punish them or make them fearful is a manipulative tactic. Sometimes not everyone is properly introduced at the start of a meeting. Don’t take it personally even if it happens to you all the time, and certainly don’t stop the meeting from moving forward to introduce yourself. Sending a quick note afterward is the best way to introduce yourself without seeming too self-important.
Some people interrupt because they are so excited about what you are saying they cannot wait until you finish to contribute their thoughts and feelings. When you get interrupted, you might be tempted to just continue talking or even ask if you can finish what you were saying. This is treacherous territory. Instead, simply stop talking. The path of least resistance is silence.
Hearing a sexist comment:
When you hear a sexist comment, the awkward laugh is key. Practice your awkward laugh at home, with your friends and family, and in the mirror. Make sure you sound truly delighted even as your soul is dying inside. And you can say, I don’t like sexist remarks, so please don’t say them. If you want to keep saying that, I will leave.