It’s 2020, but we’re still hearing stories of gender biases and barriers especially towards women at the workplace.
“Often, we allow the negative stories to take hold, for instance, “you’re not good enough”, “what are others thinking of you”, “you’re too bossy of a lady”, and the list goes on,” states Janice Chua, life and career coach at Janice Chua Coaching.
Instead of entertaining the negative voices, Janice advises us to turn it into awesome stories about ourselves. Here’s how to do it.
#1: Rethinking the label of ‘dragon lady’
“If you’re called a ‘dragon lady’, start thinking about the qualities that are attached to that persona. The ones that usually come to our mind by default are tough, domineering, scary, and fierce.
Take away the word “lady” and what comes to mind when you hear the word ‘dragon’? Possibly, strong, powerful, majestic.”
#2: Rethinking the label of women being ‘more emotional’ than men
“Being ‘more emotional’ can work in two directions – being perceptive of others’ emotions (inward) and displaying one’s emotions (outward). Being more perceptive of the emotions from others can definitely help women be better bosses, as they would be viewed as empathetic and understanding. That is, they have a ‘heart’. Displaying one’s emotions more readily allows others to better see what’s going on with you.
Obviously it doesn’t help if one is prone to frequent outbursts of anger, or tears. A controlled amount of emotions helps others see a woman as a human being, especially if she has the reputation of being a “dragon lady”.
#3: Rethinking being the minority gender in the boardroom
“If I know I’m going to be the only woman walking into the boardroom, I tell myself that all eyes are going to be on me. Walking into the room, I have to maintain a strong posture and exude confidence and not allow myself to just blend into the background.
Instead, I will make myself stand out, so the room will listen when I speak. Dress professionally, speak with a strong voice, and be confident and clear all around. And stop wondering what the rest of the room thinks of me.
Be clear on one’s intentions when you walk into the room. Once you’re clear on your own agenda and intentions, you can then contribute clearly. And when you’re clear with your message, the room listens – regardless of your gender.”
#4: Rethinking the idea of ‘taking care’ rather than ‘taking charge’ as men do
“It’s true that women tend to take more care of the people around them. That’s just how we’re wired. We’re more attuned to how others are feeling, and oftentimes, our maternal instincts kick in, regardless of whether we have children. When women show they care for the others in the workplace, they invite trust and understanding from the others.
When implementing changes in a workplace, a woman can “take care” by seeking the opinions of the other employees, letting them know that she is taking their feedback into consideration. When employees feel that they have been heard it’s easier for them to take on the changes that get put in place.”