Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CAREER DEVELOPMENT / FEB. 04, 2016
version 7, draft 7

Why Being Aggressive at Work Doesn’t Make Women Successful

As women, we are almost always expected to be more professional than our male colleagues. A mistake at work weighs a lot more if you are a woman, and a single failure could mean the end of your career. These double standards have long been practiced in the workplaces all around the world, and in spite of the progress that has been made in issues of discrimination in the workplace, the sad truth remains; women are not equal to men.

See Also: How to Deal with a Sexist Boss

Most women don’t allow their decisions and careers to be greatly affected by this. They do their best and strive to succeed, and a lot of women do actually make it. They become CEOs and leaders of empires, but those are some of the selected few. However, most women aren’t that fortunate; most women in the corporate world have to kill themselves to make the same amount of money that their male colleagues make, and rising to the top is never easy, and quite often it simply is impossible.

And as if the unequal standards were not enough, women also need to deal with subtle sexism in their workplaces. It’s subtle in the sense that nobody will laugh in your face because you want to take on a traditionally male profession –think Peggy in Mad Men- but it’s still there, nonetheless.

Most women out there would tell you that the most nerve-wracking thing they need to deal with in their work is the awkward silence that follows every time they behave in a manner that men do not see fit for a woman.

Being Aggressive at Work

Case in point: being aggressive in the workplace. We are always told that demonstrating your passion at work is a good idea. You have more chances at success and impressing your boss. The catch here is the amount of passion you are supposed to show for your work. If you are a man, there’s really no limit, but if you are a woman cross what your boss and colleagues think appropriate and you are labeled a hysteric.

You’ve probably seen it, or even worst, lived it: two male colleagues are having an argument on how to tackle an issue at work, they are screaming at each other on the top of their lungs and the boss intervenes chuckling to tell them that they are both right and that he’ll be using both their ideas. But if you’re a woman, the story is very different. You implore your passion to support your idea and your boss looks at you appalled, why are you getting so emotional? Calm down, you shouldn’t stress so much, he’ll figure it out. And the matters get even worse if it’s you and a female colleague disagreeing. All of a sudden your audience thinks you are competing to show who’s the bitchier of the two.

Change Your Tune

Unfortunately, that’s not how you pave the road to success. Being aggressive is considered a flaw for women; you’ll never get ahead that way no matter how much you scream, or how unfair this is. So, if you are dead set on succeeding you need to consider what you can do to get on the path that leads to the top.

The first step is to realize that you’ll need to change your tune; your boss will never get behind you if he thinks you are a bitch, so all you can really do is prove them that you are determined and reliable.

There are a few techniques that can help you achieve just that. First of all, try to be authoritative by being calm and respectful. Most people tend to admire that, so chances are your boss will be impressed that you don’t lose your cool for anything. The next thing you should try doing is asking questions rather than declaring that someone is wrong. So, if you disagree with the plan a colleague has just presented simply use questions to point out they are wrong, not only will you make your point, but you’ll also wow your boss as you’ll appear to be knowledgeable when asking questions. Another strategy that you can consider using is to agree with someone before disagreeing. Pick something your colleague has just said that you vaguely agree with and point out that you agree with that and then go on to explain your point.

As unfair as it is, women and men don’t enjoy the same privileges in the workplace. Whereas men can get away with almost anything, women need to demonstrate a controlled passion for their work.

What other injustices have you faced in your workplace? Share with us in the comment section below.

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