Women are socialized differently than men. You surely know that an ambitious, career-focused man is thought of as a go-getter and leader while a woman who has the same qualities is thought of as a bitch. And it isn’t gender-based. Women are often guiltier of this kind of gender bias than men.
The other socialization is that, because you are a woman, you can’t get ahead and promoted the way a man does. While there is some research to back that up, there is also a point to asking a “nature vs nurture”kind of questions. How is it that some women don’t get caught in that trap while others do?
Whatever the answer, for long as you buy into those socializations, you are likely to fear rejection and hold yourself back from your own success, or fall into a victim mentality. Either one is self-sabotaging.
Here are three ways you can change the tide of socialization:
- Be clear about your goals and your abilities. (see previous post).
- Understand the rules of the game in your company. Women rail against "playing games" and refuse to play them. But here's a fact: Just about everything has a system. There are certain days/times of day when it's better to chat with someone (e.g. Monday is often a big meeting day and people are rushing from one meeting to another - not a good day to ask for help from a mentor). When you figure out the system in your company, you’ll be able to work within it to get ahead. Just like Monopoly, when you know the rules, you develop your own strategy so you can play the game and win.
- Broaden you circle of influence. Volunteer for assignments that are outside your department and enable you to connect and develop relationships with others at your level and higher. Victorious Woman Jean Otte says that it isn’t “what your know or who your know, but who knows what you know.”