WISE words from Katharina Andrés
Last year I started a new position and for the first time since university my boss was a woman. And what a woman. Rebecca was the kindest, smartest and most professional boss you could possibly imagine. She made me feel welcome, taught me my new job and showed me that she believed in me. When she left the company after a few months of working together I felt sad. Actually, more than I had expected because we had only been working together for 4 months.
Rebecca is in a new position now and I wish her the best of luck and much success there. I am thankful for the few months we have been working together because they have taught me an important lesson: We can make a better and kinder world with more women in leadership roles! Rebecca impressed me because she did not try to be a man. She stayed true to herself and combined her femininity with great leadership skills. Her authenticity is what made it so pleasant to work with and for her. This is not just my opinion. Many of my coworkers feel the same. That encourages me, and I want to share a thought with you:
Success and like-ability are negatively correlated for women
We, women in the workforce, can proudly be true to ourselves and become great leaders. Personally, this message encourages me to be myself and believe in the power of that.
But that’s not enough. Besides daring to be ourselves we also need to change the stereotypes of our society. Research data shows that while success and like-ability are positively correlated for men, they are negatively correlated for women. That means that successful women are often not perceived as sympathetic and nice, but we rather think of them to be political or too bossy. And this is a problem. Not only do women still often have to take tougher choices between professional success and personal fulfillment, on top of that we punish them by not liking them if they do. If you are interested in the topic watch the story of Heidi and Howard in Sheryl Sandberg’s great TED talk on “Why we have too few women leaders”.
It is up to ourselves whom we like and admire.
The good news however is that we can change this! We don’t have to stick to outdated stereotypes that do not make sense anymore in our modern society. It is up to ourselves whom we like and admire. So, here is the deal: I want to encourage you all, men and women, to celebrate women like Rebecca who manage to combine professional success and being liked in a natural way. And let’s give ALL successful women the credit and sympathy they deserve. I am convinced that if we take our fear and suspicion towards successful women out of our unconscious judgement, we can change our stereotypes and make a world with more equal chances for us and for our daughters and sons.
Who are the women that you look up to?
Katharina Andrés is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Consultant, Speaker and Trainer.