While I'm not bringing my own personal politics into this, I will freely say that I've heard more than enough of Sarah Palin to last me a lifetime. "Paul Revere was riding to warn the British"? What the -?! Unfortunately, she's just the latest -- and probably best-publicized -- of a series of potential female politicos who's made herself ridiculous on a national stage.
The problem is that women in business often don't know how to make femininity and authority mesh without coming off like someone's mother or the bitch-queen of the universe. Here are three of the most common mistakes women in positions of power make and how they can turn this self-sabotage into super-success.
Overcompensating for being female
Here's the thing. You don't have to act like the title character in Saving Grace (that is, a woman acting like the stereotype of a man in her male-dominated profession), or like the harsh and exacting Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada. Everyone knows you're a woman, so trying to drown that out when interacting with colleagues only looks ridiculous. If you want to appear strong and earn coworkers' respect, follow these guidelines:
- Dress well (and like a woman!)
- Be compassionate
- Avoid big/unnecessary displays of emotion
- Always be as well-prepared as possible
- Don't become a dictator or Nene Leakes-style bully
- Take new tasks and situations by the horns
- Don't be afraid to strategically push the envelope to get where you want to be
"I had to work my butt off for this, so I'll be damned if I'm giving this new girl a break."
We all have to work to get where we want to be in the world - that's just a given. But shutting other women out of opportunities because they're female is a case of women perpetuating misogyny in the workplace, and that's just not acceptable in any way, shape, or form. Instead of getting competitive or dominating, find other sensible, strong women who are coming up in the corporate world and be a mentor and resource.
What you're doing then is not only ridding yourself of a negative outlook on other women in the office and creating a supportive circle, you're also empowering other women to do the same and hopefully pay that compassion forward. It's important to note that women are still not treated entirely equally to men on the job market and in the workplace, so it's essential that we nourish (instead of fracture) what could be hugely beneficial professional relationships with other women.
Thinking you're better because you're a womanFeminism is wonderful. It keeps us gaining ground in a world that sometimes fights female forward momentum. But that doesn't mean that we're better than anyone else - after all, "better than" is what got us into this professionally subordinate mess to begin with. Even if you think you're superior to your coworkers, do yourself a favor and remember to build bridges and avoid alienation. You never know who might save your butt tomorrow or five years from now