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-3- Don’t imitate male machismo (Men: 76% - Women: 20%)
Thriving in a high-profile executive job requires a “genetic” mutation: development of thick skin (Men: 54% - Women: 89%) of a man to prevent direct attacks from hurting while remaining soft so that not to hurt male ego. The most effective female business leaders I have met don't try to imitate male machismo. They use some "feminine" attributes such as greater attention to interpersonal interaction, and a degree of approachability to lower people's defensiveness. But underlying this soft approach they remain focused on bottom-line goals, express self-confidence and succeed in achieving those goals without having men around them feel that they have lost face or been manipulated. Additionally, imitating is irritating. And, though men are not people readers in general, they can see through a bad imitation almost instantaneously.
-4- Be a warrior (Men: 25% - Women: 75%)
Let’s not deny it: not giving in male machismo does not mean we should all be subdued to everything! Being a warrior, or developing a survivor’s spirit will help women be more successful. NO question about it. Problem is: we are not wired to accurately identify rivals. We are not wired to be warriors. We have to work on becoming one. If you develop into a warrior yourself, think like men and play their game. Since women have this great ability to adapt to nearly any situation, this should not be too tough. This attitude paradoxically will help you mingle in men’s groups where you are only woman. Once blended in, remember to shift to a more feminine (and more efficient) attitude.
-5- Treat men as equal (Men: 60% - Women: 76%)
Stop thinking he is man, I am woman, there must be some difference. By brainwashing ourselves into thinking about differences, we focus on wrong element. Let’s stop thinking about differences, let’s believe about one species: Business Homo Sapiens Sapiens. Not a woman. Not a man.
-6- Learning when game is over (Men: 82% - Women: 13%)
Going back years in history and recalling past events when in heat of an argument, is a woman’s all-times favorite. This childish attitude is particularly detrimental to our business success in a dominant male world. What happened five years ago, is over. No need to bring it to (business) table anymore. Hey! I know it is a hard one. We are wired to react this way…but aren’t we also wired to be extremely adaptive? ;-) Keep in mind that this wiring happens when we are very young. Little boys are taught to play war games, sport games, which have a clear end. We play dolls and cooking with no real clear-cut ending; it is more of a process than of a timed game. Very interesting poll result where women do not consider this attitude as a showstopper when it comes to their success in corporate world.
I bet that you have found yourself using (consciously or not) one or more of these key factors of success in macho world, and discovered that it was not THAT easy and THAT straightforward.
Recapturing old women’s glory, not to mention its social, religious and political power, is considered difficult if not unattainable. But is it necessary? I don’t subscribe to this point of view. I don’t support allegation about gender struggle, as I have never believed that businessmen and businesswomen were doomed to be at odds.
The old dichotomy black/white, man/woman, power/submission is long gone. In 2004, “businesswoman homo sapiens” species has evolved and is now a patent pending complex mix of 10% man, 2% warrior, 88% woman….and maybe some additional secret things which we cannot publish here. I will leave last words to one of surveyed man, who is definitely not a macho: “best way to succeed in a macho world is to make up your own rules, rather than compete with macho element... The bottom line is that macho thing may look formidable, but it's really not an effective business strategy; (my opinion) it lacks subtlety...”
Valerie Vauthey is the founder of www.MyPrivateCoach.com and www.WealthQuoteOfTheDay.com.