Be Fair to Women Leaders
It isn’t enough that organizations give women more opportunities to develop into leaders. When they become one, they should be fairly evaluated too.
Sure, there are women in leadership roles today. But, they may not be judged impartially by their colleagues, even when they’re performing well. It doesn’t help that many women believe that men are better leaders. You are likely to find them in your midst.
Nevertheless, before you assess a woman leader, take note of the following. These will help you give a fair assessment.
» Your Unconscious Biases
Have you asked yourself what you think of women leaders? You may be unaware of deep-rooted biases that influence your opinion of women. Culture can have an effect. In several modern societies, women aren’t encouraged to pursue high positions. There’s that belief that these jobs are better suited for men.
Experiences can also play a role. For instance, an unpleasant encounter with a woman leader can create negative opinions without you knowing it. So, when evaluating, make sure you’re being objective. Question your reasoning when you make opinions about women in leadership roles.
» Your Organization
You can’t change a company’s culture overnight. Some organizations need to be restructured when deciding to become diverse. Many businesses claim they don’t have glass ceilings. If there are no programs or a conscious effort to promote and train women for leadership, then it’s just empty talk.
Do women in your organization enjoy the same opportunities given to men? Are employees open to reporting to women bosses?
When women leaders work in an environment where gender biases exist, they always fall short of expectations.
» Define Parameters for Evaluation
Did a leader, regardless of gender, accomplish goals for the month, quarter or year? This is one of the basic questions during assessments.
There should be criteria for evaluation. Also, as an evaluator, provide evidence such as results. When giving opinions, cite events or situations when a leader did well or otherwise. Most organizations have well-thought-out questionnaires used for evaluations. Without one, there’s a tendency to make judgments influenced by biases.
» Make the First Step.
When a woman leader is assertive, many may view her as abrasive. When she shows empathy, she’s considered soft. Encouraging cooperation, employees think she’s weak. Don’t stereotype and maybe, try to change the hearts and minds of people who view women as inferior.
When evaluating a woman leader, stick with performance criteria. Don’t look for skills or traits that are unnecessary for the job.
Lastly, set an example by sharing your thoughts with others. You may be the spark your organization needs.