The WIN (Women in Neuro--Ophthalmology) Leadership Book Club met on December 11, 2022. They discussed "Breaking through Bias: Communication Techniques for Women to Succeed at Work" by Andrea S. Kramer and Alton B. Harris.
The group discussed the following key points addressed in the book:
Gender Stereotypes create general expectations of behavior and roles and contribute to deeply rooted implicit gender bias that creates obstacles to women's career advancement.
Women may self-embrace these and hence be limited in their self-confidence (self-limiting bias) and these stereotypes can affect how women are viewed as less talented for certain leadership jobs (negative bias).
Additionally, agentic traits can be misread in women as pushy versus determined, bossy versus leader, show off versus confident, selfish vs go-getter, etc.
We need to remember that workplaces are not meritocracies and impressions and our attitudes matter.
Effective communication techniques (‘attuned gender communication”) can help us manage the impressions we make.
Self-monitoring and adapting the use of different communication styles as needed e.g. decisiveness versus inclusiveness/warmth is one such skill. Avoiding Self deprecating statements: “I may be off base”, avoiding emotional words: “I feel” are some examples of verbal behavior important for women to adopt such that they exhibit competence and power.
Nonverbal behavior such as claiming space, dressing the part, speaking with few hesitations can also be leveraged to manage our impressions. Additionally, adopting a long view and grit, a growth mindset and humor goes a long way in reducing stress for women in gendered workplaces.
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