Women, Body Language and Leadership

I just read a compelling article on how women subtly undermine their leadership position in the workplace.   Let’s assume that this information is valid, that women do send body language clues in the workplace that signal lack of confidence or incompetence. 

The big question is, how should we respond to these facts.  Should women just try to change their behaviours and behave more like men? Or should we try to change men to understand and accept women’s different behaviours?  

Neither of these solutions is particularly appealing.  Having women behave more like men seems a bit self-defeating, as both women and men don’t seem to like more aggressive women.  Trying to change men?  Impossible.

My viewpoint? Be aware of how you are perceived by others by asking them.  Figure out what you are willing to change and what you aren’t willing to change. Accept that your choices might limit you in the workplace. Life isn’t fair. Get over it.


1 reply »

  1. If you’re in a place of leadership you usually get there because you are self-confident and competent. If your body language says something different then you got there by other means, plain and simple. If you think changing your body language will turn you into a skilled, self confident and competent leader you’re in for a sad ending to that fairy tale. Your body language (exterior) is a picture of who you are (interior) not the other way around. Unless the package contains the real thing then no amount of window dressing is going to matter, in fact it could hurt. You’ll be seen for the fraud that you are. Case in point: the article you referred to “Trap #1- Head Tilting:” A dog does not tilt its head to indicate deference, it will lie on its back and expose its throat. If you believe otherwise I hope your hospital insurance is paid up.
    Let’s face it, if you know what you’re doing your body language will indicate that and if you don’t know what you’re doing then asking someone else how you are perceived isn’t going to give you any answers you are going to want to hear. Learn your job, do the best you know how and for god(dess) sake remember “What others think of you is none of your business!”

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