Likability is a big topic these days. Turn on the news and be reminded that boys can be boys and many of them get attention by being more aggressive, louder, and forceful. For some reason it’s human nature to marvel at his achievements and his guts even if we can’t stand the guy. We say he’s a tough leader, that he is bold, that he’s shaking it up. Women, on the other hand, struggle with showcasing their subject matter expertise while earning some level of likability. I’ve never heard anyone marvel about a boisterous woman making it. Have you?
Another one of my favorite topics: double standards.
During a recent keynote and training at a Fortune 100 pharmaceutical company, I took the audience through how men and women lead differently. After reviewing the male and female leadership attributes, the second session that day was about creating a personal value proposition.
You see, most of us (women are especially guilty of this) believe that everyone must surely be able to recognize our capabilities and our talents just by looking at us. My daughter is an aspiring performer and I tell her that when the casting director doesn’t immediately see the canvas he wants in her, he doesn’t bother to ask about all the things she is capable of. If he doesn’t see what he is looking for right away he simply saysnext.
The same rule applies to us. We all lead insanely busy lives. We look for easy and obvious solutions. We stay away from difficulties and conflict because—who needs it?
As a result, those who rise and are the bosses’ favorites are the ones who get it, which is to make their bosses’ lives easier. Even if they are not the most qualified or follow procedures the best, if the boss likes them they are golden.
The flipside to this affects those on the team who are perceived to be difficult. Those who need too much explanation, are insecure, keep asking the same questions, spend too much time trying to be perfect, and, and, and… Their bosses can’t see a reason why they should have a place in the inner circle.
The boss is responsible for managing a team and getting a job done. They have people to answer to as well. Imagine if your boss can’t rely on you to consistently do what is expected of you without drama. Your boss’s job is at stake and you are affecting his credibility. Therefore, it is natural for the boss to favor those on the team who naturally gel with his style because collaboration is much easier that way.
While that kind of leadership style may seem rational and easy, it’s obviously not great leadership.
If you are on the receiving end of a boss who routinely passes you over or doesn’t pay attention to your contributions, it would behoove you to write a personal value proposition (PVP). A PVP will help you understand your personal strengths and identify what and how you can contribute to the team.
During the training session I mentioned earlier, one of the participants had a big AHA! moment when he realized that his pleasant disposition and ability to get along with everyone was one of his strengths. He shouted out, “But it is so easy!”
That is how we can identify our biggest strengths—they are the things that come naturally to us. And once we know, we need to ensure the boss knows our strengths, too.
Before you quit your job in hopes of finding a workplace that appreciates you, I want you to deeply dive into your capabilities and strengths. During the next team meeting I encourage you to raise your hand and say aloud, “I am good at that. I want to lead and here is why.”
Let me know how you are doing with this. I know most us have a hard time showcasing our features and benefits because we are taught not to brag. It’s not bragging; it’s making it easy for the boss to know what we are capable of. After all, that’s what we get paid for, so why not talk about it?
At her lowest point, Beate Chelette was $135,000 in debt, a single mother, and forced to leave her home. Only 18 months later, she sold her image licensing business to Bill Gates in a multimillion dollar deal. Chelette is a nationally known ‘gender decoder’ who has appeared in over 60 radio shows, respected speaker, career coach, consummate creative entrepreneur, and author of Happy Woman Happy World. Beate is also the founder of The Women’s Code, a unique guide to women leadership and personal and career success that offers a new code of conduct for today’s business, private, and digital worlds. Determined to build a community of women supporting each other, she took her life-changing formula documented it all in a book Brian Tracy calls “an amazing handbook for every woman who wants health, happiness, love and success!”
Through her corporate initiative “Why Acting Like a Girl Is Good For Business” she helps companies with gender diversification training, and to develop and retain women.
If you’d like to book Beate as a speaker on New Leadership Balance or Creative Entrepreneurship for your next event please connect with me.