Traditional gender norms suggest that men are naturally strong and assertive, while women are the nurturers and care givers. Despite significant progress in the field of gender equality, traditional gender roles in the workplace, and elsewhere in life, can be difficult to shake.
Women are often told to “man-up” to become more successful. While it’s true that anyone who wants to be successful must be robust, tenacious and tough, women don’t need to buy into the idea that they need to mimic men to achieve their own success.
What is success?
Women are categorized differently than men in nearly every facet of both business and life, and while more women than men actually graduate from South African universities each year, they still don’t have equal representation in the workforce. These facts may influence how some women conceptualise the idea of success.
Success is defined as ‘the accomplishment of an aim or purpose’. Yes, that does means that high paying executive positions might be important, but so too is personal happiness, a feeling of belonging, and physical and mental health. Essentially, success is linked to the choices you make, the goals you set, and the actions you take to reach them. It’s about embracing the freedom to live by your own values, regardless of your gender.
Women bring their own skill set to the table
For women to be successful they do not need to be aggressive or forceful. Studies have found that, when compared to men, in the workplace women tend to be more:
This means is that women are likely to be more inclusive, with a team-building approach to leadership. Using their strong people skills to read situations, understand all sides of an argument and understanding the situation and the people involved, they achieve positive outcomes.
5 steps to achieving, maintaining and growing success
Key attributes for success include having a particular skill set, perseverance, believing in your business, and the willingness to work hard, and giving thought and action to new approaches. But there are equally important habits that, regardless of your industry, age or gender, can enhance your success, both at work and in life:
- Read more: Take time to read real books, interesting articles, or inspiring biographies. Avid readers are educated and informed, have increased focus as well as excellent memories, and writing and speaking skills.
- Sleep more: Sleep promotes cognition and memory, facilitates learning, recharges your mental and physical batteries, and generally helps you make the most of your days. With sufficient sleep you improve mental and physical health, reduce stress, and maintain the routine that is critical to healthy daily functioning.
- Exercise more: Besides improving heart and brain health, committing to a regular exercise schedule boosts your mood and confidence, allows you to set meaningful goals and builds both physical and mental strength, endurance and stamina.
- Relax more: Burnout is real! Carve out and protect your time to relax and destress every week. Success is as much about regular downtime time as working hard.
- Listen more: The most successful people know how to communicate with those around them, and how to best leverage their relationships with co-workers and colleagues. Aim to listen more, speak less.
At the end of the day, you really don’t need to be wearing pants to be successful. Women naturally have greater diversity in their life goals – something to be celebrated and embraced. Because of this diversity women can achieve just about anything they set their minds to – in the boardroom or anywhere else!
The science of women’s leadership
In order to become more successful women are often told to “grow a pair”, or to “man-up”. Whilst it’s true that anyone who is successful needs to be robust, tenacious and tough, women don’t need to buy into the idea that they have to mimic men to achieve their own success.
Turns out there is a science behind women’s leadership. WATCH BELOW to learn more about this topic and understand why many women are hesitant to take the next step in their career.