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Thursday, 14 February 2013

Saying Goodbye to Stereotypes

Although it is a taboo topic, there are certain business traits that are associated with either men or women.  Women are often characterized as being “collaborative” or “good at relationships”, which are of course excellent terms to be associated with, but are they terms associated with executive material?
Could these stereotypes be holding women back?  Although they may have in the past, I think it is becoming less true in today’s corporate world.  The definition of leadership itself has changed over the years, with the “command and control” model for executives on its way out.  People now want more of a work/life balance, where a leader who is “good at relationships” is key.  Offices are also much more team based, which studies have found to be much more productive than a hierarchy structure and having someone who is “collaborative” at the helm could make all the difference.
The greater danger is not the stereotypes themselves, but of women feeling that they must take on male attributes in order to get ahead.  In order for stereotypes to be changed, then they must first be recognized and people must acknowledge that they exist. 
Having more women in senior roles will eventually change this public perception, leading to a corporate society where “collaborative: and “good at relationships” are not feminine traits, but simply traits of a good leader.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that women feel the need to acquire male attributes in order to get ahead, not to mention the idea of being successful and also having a family is still ridiculed in many places. But I do also think that this is changing, and having been in the industry for 35+ years, have already seen great change take place. It's about time!


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