Posted by: drshollen | April 2, 2013

Reflective Question for 4/4 class – Respond here

Given what you read for today regarding the obstacles to women’s leadership imposed by organizations, describe what your ideal workplace would be like as a woman leader (and/or the type of place you would create for other women in the org) in order to minimize the obstacles. Be specific about what you would want and/or do. In your response, make specific references to concepts in the readings.

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Responses

  1. My ideal workplace would be one without discrimination, judgment, or stereotypes. I would avoid beauty is good and beauty is beastly and simply hire my employees based on their experience and capability for the job. I would make sure that a picture was not provided with any resume so that an un-bias situation would be formed. The uniform would be casual so jeans and a nice shirt avoiding the whole gender bias for clothing. And I would also hire people who are undeterred by a female in a leadership position. This would minimize the drama and negative atmospheres of most business offices by taking gender out of the equation.

  2. I like the 5 naked truths that Heffernan stated. My ideal workplace would be one where men and woman are considered to be equally capable of doing all things required for a job. The last truth, “Women work differently from men”, is something to be considered in this workplace. Just because men and women do things differently, does not mean that either one of them is wrong or thought of as less than the other. It should be a place where everyone is valued the same. No one should turn away from the job because they feel that they will not fit in with the environment. I would make a point to make sure that everyone that works for me is comfortable in the workplace. This includes, attire, office space, lunch areas, meetings, etc. I would be flexible in some of these areas to ensure that the employees perform to the best of their ability and stay happy doing it.

  3. Just like anyone else, I would love to work in an environment where I felt respected and have the courage to express myself as an individual as well as feel comfortable working with other associates that are the same and opposite gender as me. I think that organizations have created extreme measurements for these wired expectations of gender roles and that although we want these perfect working environments we have to accept the fact that reality isn’t the way we want it to be. I would like to enhance the comfort zone for women to feel that they can be themselves without having the extra stress of having to feel more masculine just because of the position that they are in. In the article Margaret noted that, “Everywhere I go, I hear women tell me that in order to progress, women must assimilate. They have to learn to act like a guy (Hefferman, 2007).” I think that she is smart for noting that it is an apparent issue that women are being noted for acting more masculine than not in certain leader positions. When it comes to personality and attire this is a big issue. I think that everyone should be themselves and that if someone is more feminine the another that should be fine. People and their leadership skills are all different and I think that a person is hired into a position for specific qualities that they can contribute. If a women starts to change themselves into a more masculine feature just because that is what is expected then they tend to lose a sense of themselves and can not perform to their fullest potential while still expressing their true colors. If I were able to create an environment where these actions don’t happen I would. It would be a hard road to take and a long process but anything is possible. I would firstly start by making programs to aware others of the gender issues in companies and organizations to get the word out. I would also present people with executive opportunities to express themselves and things that they like to do outside of the company. This would allow for people to feel more comfortable in their work environment and even get to know others better. I think that it is important to start slow and test the waters and then jump in and make an true impact.

  4. After examining the two readings there are a few ideas I was able to formulate in order to construct the ideal work environment I would create as a woman leader in order to create gender equality within the work place. First I would create a foundation based on equality in pay, so that women and men are held to the same level and receive the same rewards. People will thus be more likely to compete and know their likelihood for success is based upon their own effort due to equal competition. Heffernan stated a fact that, “men still routinely underpay women and think nothing of it” (2002). From there I would aim to set a un-gender biased tone so that no one feels like they need to act like a man or act like a woman. Everyone would be a part of a collaborative team and act themselves in order to create the best outcome, not trying to impress anyone or fit the pressures of a certain role. I would also strive to use women to where they would hold an advantage within the company as compared to just using them anywhere in order to meet gender caps or put them in easy desk tasks. I lastly like an environment where people are driven not by self-interests or person success but by how they can impact and further the company. Rochelle Sharpe states that, “women are more driven by ‘what they can do for the company,’ and I would like to transpire this to all genders and members of the company (2000).
    Activities outside of the work place would be created in order to include both genders, encouraging them to interact and build team work so women aren’t left out of social interactions. I would also try to structure team work activities in order for people to come together and notice their commonalities in order to see that the gender differences aren’t so abstract. I would also make it my primary goal for women to not have to worry about juggling their multiple roles constantly and strain their efforts. “Women who do have families ultimately find that they have to make other trade-offs”, but why can’t a work environment help combined these worlds (Heffernan, 2002)? I would create a supportive environment where both men and women can have waived time for their family in order to meet their at home needs, as long as the tasks are being completed. I would make people work in groups and so if one person had to go home early to get a sick child then I would know the rest of the group would be accomplishing the task regardless if that one person was there or not.

  5. Personally, I believe that the work place should be gender neutral. However, I know that a gender neutral environment is slightly unrealistic, but I think that women and men should both be respected and people not have to feel like they need to conform to certain role. I strongly believe that a person needs to be professional and competent over any other quality. In relation to the memo drafted by Margaret Heffernan, I think she came across as very unprofessional in the language that she used and it actually undermined the points that she was trying to convey to her fellow male coworkers. For example, I don’t think she should have started her memo with “Hey, guys! What’s the deal with you?” That type of introduction immediately makes me lose respect for her. I think the way that she devised her argument actually makes women look ditzy and uneducated. For example, in her article, she uses phrases such as ‘small wonder…’ casually, which I think weakens her credibility. In spite of this, I do agree with most of the points that she makes throughout the memo, and I like that she incorporated many personal accounts. Although she uses personal accounts, she still needs to use professional language. Overall, I think that times are changing and women are becoming equals in the workplace.

  6. My ideal workplace would be one with some clear solutions to the problems in the readings, specifically to Heffernan’s 5 naked truths. Toxic bosses could be helped doing an evaluation of the boss every 6 months to make sure they are doing their job and to make sure they are not creating a toxic environment for employees. Women having to choose between Geisha, bitch or guy could be solved with simple solutions. Employees should be hired solely on their qualifications, beauty should be disregarded in the workplace as either helping or hurting one’s success, and leaders and followers should be their own person, not try to embody a manly leading style. The “you can’t have it all” naked truth is simply women making their decision to place their role as wife or leader first on the priorities. This could potentially alleviate a little stress if the job was flexible with mother schedules (school pick up, games, etc). Changing the game is more of a truth that there is no problem with. Women work differently than men. If you separate the genders, they will never learn to work together as teams, so I would like teams of 2 men, 2 women who compliment each other’s leadership styles/qualities.
    Overall I propose a simple “no discrimination” and “open communication” business where people can be themselves no matter the gender and if there are problems, communicate them and be open about accepting criticism.

  7. Heffernan, though using an interesting style of writing that threatened her credibiliy, brought up solid points with her “5 naked truths”. I especially agreed with number 5. Just because women may seem different doesn’t mean that they’re lesser. Being different is a cause for celebration. Embrace being different. I think, too many times, women approach a situation with a philosophy that they have to “fit in”. Screw that. You know where people got by fitting in? They got as far as the people above wanted them to get. If you’re going to doubt you abilities because they might not match somebody who has a higher position than you than you don’t deserve too work. And don’t think that it’s just a feminine problem, men have a hard time realizing that what makes them different is what gives them an advantage. It gives women and men a chance to show that they don’t have to fall into the stereotypes and be subjected to constant workplace disappoint and frustration. By believing that what makes you different is a hindrance, not what the company is looking for, than you have lost. We were put on Earth to make a mark, women and men. The only way you make a mark different from another that can stand out is by being proud to be different. Go out right now, climb Trible Library, and yell loudly, listing off one by one those things that make you different. I would rather live in a box in between Walmart and McDonalds than sell my soul by settling for a job I don’t want because I don’t believe in the talent that makes me different. Live your life on instinct and it will open opportunities that you never knew were possible.

  8. Each of the readings defined similar issues that oppose women in organizations. Basically, all admitted that women were less likely to be promoted. The Eagly and Carli reading cited the organizations themselves not making it probable for women to be given difficult tasks and jobs. I would personally like to see a workplace that encourages everyone to try their hardest and has a reciprocal promotion process. I was really interested to see in the Eagly and Carli reading the idea of having promotions based on performance evaluations. I would really want to implement that in the organization where I lead so I could promote based on who ever was the most deserving. I would also like to dispel the 5 naked truths defined in Hefferman’s article as much as possible, particularly the fourth about changing the game. If I could create an environment where all people were encouraged to think outside of the box and work collaboratively, I feel that I could truly change the game. Finally, I would do my best to reward everyone who was doing a superb job, not just women. However, by being aware of the incongruencies that women face when they are overlooked for opportunities, I would be able to be more fair in deciding who would be rewarded when for what.

  9. First of all, Nick’s post just made my night. I couldn’t agree more with every single point that you made. We spend so much time discussing gender differences in a negative light but they are something to be celebrated.
    Maybe I’m oversimplifying everything we’ve talked about this semester, but I don’t think I really view the world in terms of gender. I think male and female character traits are less important than overall personality traits and how we interpret the individual experiences that alter us all throughout the course of life. I don’t see myself as someone who would compromise personal values for a paycheck, so I think my ideal work place would be one that operates under that context of equality as well. Sharpe talked about how companies assume people skills have no place in “business skills”, but I think that in the ever-changing world we live in, her argument that the two are becoming inseparable is completely correct and, in some ways, has always been so. I don’t think it comes down to having feminine or masculine traits – it comes down to what you think of when you think of a “good person” and how an individual’s unique personality traits and skill sets work together to comprise their attitude and influence their behavior. Eagly and Carli entertained the idea of men needing to become more like women (most of those “people skills” tend to be feminine stereotypes), but concluded that the best managers manifest both traditionally masculine and feminine qualities. Again – I really think this is all figuring out what makes you unique and how that is transpired into your leadership style. I could care less what your gender is. I may be wrong, but I feel like the majority of our generation can agree with me, which leaves interesting implications as to what the average work environment will look like in about ten to twenty years. Maybe this ideal work place is within reach? I sure hope so.

  10. Both of the readings for today discuss similar issues faced by women in the workplace. As women struggle to gain acceptance and prosper in today’s leadership world, they are faced with making polarizing decisions about their leadership styles and tactics along with their relationships that surround them.Although I am compelled in agreement with 1-4 of Heffernan’s 5 points, I disagree with point #5. In terms of my “ideal work place” I would focus strongly on the dispelling point 5, along side of typical desires such as communication, setting goals, respect and promtness. I would like to work in an environment where gender is NOT an issue. Heffernan focuses on the differences between men and women and uses them against each other in a comparative and competitive way. If ever a leader of an organization or business setting, I would strive to focus on the collaboration of these differences and unify gender strengths and weaknesses to help the opposite gender grow. I feel like collaboration through groups and teams of mixed gender and personalities can significantly increase productivity and personal development. As stated by other students, individuality is important, but I think a successful environment thrives off of the ability to use individuals talents and strengths to benefit across the board.

  11. The readings for today left me with much to think about and try to apply to the female leadership I have seen so far. They also jump started my though on what my ideal workplace would be. Like any other worker I wish to have respect and openness in my workplace. Having a gender neutral workplace would also be ideal. Finding solutions to Heffernan’s 5 naked truths would be a start in the right direction toward a better workplace for both females and males. The first Naked Truth, toxic bosses still create unfriendly work environments, can be made a positive change in the workforce by making followers aware of this toxicity and why it should not be allowed. Underpaying female leaders should simply not be acceptable in the workforce. The fact that these toxic bosses claim to “like women” and still treat them as objects and not equal leaders is disgusting. An ideal workplace would be without these toxic bosses. The third Naked Truth the fact that women cannot have it all should also be altered to fit an ideal workplace. When a woman is the breadwinner in a family she should be supported in her home life just as a male breadwinner is by his wife. Although I realize this is more of a personal situation to situation matter, workplaces can encourage this support of women by maybe even offering daycares or support for female leaders. From Sharpe’s article on woman’s rule a study found that companies can also undercut women’s strengths in another, often inadvertent way: by assuming that people skills are not business skills. Women have been doing work with excellent people skills and getting higher-quality work and more production and yet this is not recognized as positive leadership qualities possessed by women. In an ideal workplace these skills should be recognized and rewarded for females and males.

  12. My ideal workplace would be an environment who accepts me for who I am, and the fact that I am a woman doesn’t matter.I enjoyed Heffernan’s 5 naked truths about women in business today, and believe some of those truths should be implemented into my ideal work environment. I want a place where I feel comfortable, and not a place filled with toxic bosses that created unfriendly work environments, because that leads to negativity. I also want a place where I can be myself and that have to worry about being judged for my style of work and whether it’s more feminine or masculine, or where I would be put down or scrutinized for being a woman and being seen more as an object rather than an employee. Feeling like I can do my perform my task at work without feeling like I have to compete is also important. I also want to be the best employee I can possibly be, whether that means I am in charge of the company I work for or not. Lastly, I want a work environment where I feel like I can separate myself from others and stand out, and utilize my leadership qualities I have learned over the years to create the best possible workplace I can.

  13. My ideal work place is one where I can be truly comfortable at being myself without having to feel about fitting a stereotype of what a working woman needs to do in order to succeed. I do not want to feel like I have to hide who I am in order to succeed or enjoy work. After reading the articles, it always makes me feel like women must hide part of who they are in order to do better but then I hear of so many women who can’t handle their fast paced job. I’m sure part of it is that their job is busy and takes a lot of time, but I think that if women worked in a place where they can truly be who they are, then they will want to stay where they work and they will enjoy it.
    I really liked the Hefferman article and the 5 naked truths that she gave about women working. I really liked number 4 “Change the Game”. In my idea workplace, where ever I work I want to be able to help bring about change, especially related to women who work there. I would love to be able to be in an environment where I can help women be more comfortable at being themselves and being genuine.

  14. My ideal work environment would be one where every person was treated with respect and dignity. People were hired based on merit and attractiveness played no part in that. This however is quite impossible. People tend to think more about people that are attractive or made up. This is seen in the phrase I was told as a child, “people care about people who care about themselves”. This means if you look nice people will think you care about yourself and in turn care more about you. Since it is impossible to have a work environment that is like this, as a leader small things can be done to minimize discrimination based on gender.
    To create an ideal work environment, I would first enable a dress code. Not a strict one, but one that would lay a foundation so people would understand what they are expected to wear to look professional and not cause competition between women or men. This dress code would be fairly accommodating with peoples lifestyles. This was an important point made in “ Woman Putting Style to Work”. The article said people don’t have time to go home and change so they will wear something to work that they can do other daily task in. Due to my desire to go into education, the culture would imply for subordinates to wear flat shoes and dress pants. This would enable teachers to be able to continue with their teaching without the limitations of heals and skirts. This point is also made in the Heffernan article read for today. In the article they talk about women with families making trade offs. This is one accommodation that allows women to be able to go home to their families or run to a baseball practice and be suitably dressed for the situation. The article stated above said that geography, preference and corporate culture all play into what people where to work. In the education field in this area, the land is flat so any type of shoe is practical, but the culture is the limiting factor. I would also make staff have weekly meetings so that we could discuss people’s strengths and weaknesses. This will minimize the “halo effect” stated in Hickson’s article. People will not assume attractive people to have certain traits if the atmosphere welcomes interactions for improvement.

  15. My ideal workplace would be one focused on equality that would make judgments based on merit rather than demographic factors. I would also like a workplace that is very upfront and transparent about their expectations and any limitations that they think I might have. As much as I would like to portray myself as being able to do everything, I think that a workplace relationship will go much more smoothly when all parties acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of everyone, but obviously not in a demeaning manner.

    I would propose the same setup if I was in the leadership position. I would rather have a frank and honest conversation with all of my followers about their strengths and weaknesses not only to know who to delegate specific tasks to, but also to give them specific support and guidance in the areas in which they struggle.

    One of the concepts addressed in the reading was the concept of gender inequality based on attractiveness. I think that the easiest way to address this would be to not allow photographs in job application packages. Also, I think that an outside evaluation of employees in terms of successes and failures that could add to the decision-making process of whether or not to promote an individual would help to make sure that people are judged on their work and not their looks.

  16. My ideal workplace would be one in which I could state my thoughts, opinions, and ideas openly. I think a lot of times, women find it easier to keep their thoughts to themselves and just conform to popular opinion rather than face the criticism they would receive. As Heffernan put it, women have to assimilate. If women don’t assimilate, they will be put into three, very narrow-minded and unrealistic categories: geisha, bitch, or guy. These categories are just three stereotypes. Just three. To me, that means that men don’t see women as being able to adapt. They can only be one of three things, and that’s it. There are no other conceivable options. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? I would put an end to this by creating an environment where any and all opinions are welcomed, and encouraged because every opinion matters.
    In the Sharpe article, I loved her statement that it is assumed that “people skills are not business skills.” This is so interesting because when I think of a successful, Fortune 500 company, I don’t think of a boss that goes around talking to all of his or her employees and knowing their names by heart. This is the problem. Maybe if we did care about our employees, and we did take the time to get to know them, learn their names, understand their needs, then our businesses would be better off. Our work environment would be more welcoming. Our employees would actually want to come to work, not because that meant they were getting paid, but because they actually loved their jobs and they had great bosses. In relation to gender equality, I think this could really help women feel more comfortable in the workplace. Men usually feel more comfortable in the workplace than women simply because they are more confident. Maybe women would be more confident if they felt that their bosses believed in them. If bosses took the time to get to know employees, men and women alike, I think women would gain confidence and work harder, and men would perhaps become less narrow-minded about the women in the workplace.

  17. On Tuesday, my Leadership through the Ages class talked about women in Leadership. Professor Carter had us go around the room and list characteristics of our ideal work place. Both women and men in the class listed characteristics of a democratic, open, creative, and personal work place. Even the boys in the class emphasized that they found attractive the idea of a workplace with meaning, purpose and a sense of team orientation. I too agree with these qualities. I don’t want a place that restricts me from my own personal feelings or who I really am. I am not attracted to a workplace where I would have to wear a mask in order to feel respected.
    Working under a toxic leader that has barriers set up even before you get there, will not allow for a productive career. They will just continue to put up barriers and keep you from your full potential. I agree with Heffernan that many women are deterred from situations where this is already a pre-curser. I feel like men are more willing to work these toxic leaders because they are capable of concerning themselves more on task rather than relationships. My mom just left her job that she had under a toxic leader. He criticized my mom for her relationships with her co-workers and how she intended to run a clinical program for the children in the organization. The restrictions and constraints he put on her made it so that she could not do her job to the best of her ability. She said she felt like she had to wear a mask, and that in turn was degrading her level of work. I think a toxic leader can be a male or female, regardless they do not create an environment that I am interested in working in.

  18. I like that Heffernan pointed out that women are changing the game in the workforce. Another point Heffernan used was how toxic bosses are using that game (sometime inadvertently) to discriminate against women. If the game is changing, I would first get rid of toxic bosses. Bosses should not have all the power. People fear their bosses, because bosses have reward power, and sometimes the “reward” isn’t so much a reward. If that power were taken away, or even equally distributed amongst all employees, maybe bosses would not come to the conclusion that they can do whatever they want to subordinates. If a female (or male) subordinate can offer consequences for toxic behavior, such as excluding women in any way, or even insulting a woman’s intelligence for being a woman, then that toxic boss might would rethink his actions before committing to them. Quite a few more people might actually stop to think about what they want to say and how it could be misconstrued. Maybe then some faster progress would be made on different decisions, because the chances of hurt feelings could decrease. Then everyone would be able to think through the information clearly and without bias.

    I also believe getting rid of toxic bosses (or even colleagues) would offer women more options than geisha, bitch or guy. If a woman can freely speak or act without fear of the consequences, then more ideas would pour in from the female side of the workforce. Women would not feel confined to the rules of the male game, because toxic consequences would not exist. They would still pop up, but a woman would be equipped with the strength to call the toxicity out and evict it from her environment. An employee (male or female) must feel like they matter, and that their opinion matters.

  19. My ideal workplace would be a place where the focus was on the individual and what they bring to the work environment rather than filling a status quote or seeing me as someone with one attribute: woman. I think if there is anything we can gather from our lectures, discussions and readings is that stats can give a general idea of a situation but ultimately, everything will vary by each individual. I may be a woman that has learned about leadership for the last 4 years but that doesn’t mean I will lead or work the exact way people may expect me to. So again, I think it is best to focus on the individual and everything they have to offer. I think this can be highlighted in the fourth naked truth from Heffernan’s 5 naked truths. This truth talks about women changing the game. It has no longer become the goal to make it to the very stop of the success ladder. Now it is about being ambitious in all areas of one’s life. Women no longer want to focus on just one side of themselves. They want to be able to be themselves and have all areas of their life excels at the same time. I think by working in an environment where the focus is on the individual then this was be applicable for women.

  20. As a woman leader my ideal workplace would be an environment where my employees felt safe and that they were being treated fairly (no gender bias). My employees would see me as someone who works hard to get things done yet has a genuine care and concern for her employees well being. Other things that would be implemented are 1. pay would be decided based on the workers qualifications and time with the company. (Not at all based on gender) 2. there would be a dress code, to minimize women being seen as a bitch, ditz, exc. This would protect women’s bodies and it would minimize gender stereotypes based off of wardrobes. 3. According to Heffernan women work differently from men and I would encourage office luncheons and other social gatherings so that my staff could bond and then women would be less timid to ask questions because they feel more comfortable with their male co-workers 4. Lastly as a boss I would try to decrease a “toxic atmosphere” so I would make my workspace more friendly and open. There would be no cubicles and my personal office would be warm and inviting so my staff would find me more approachable.

  21. I think people need to be encouraged about coming to work and feeling like what they’re putting their time and energy into matters. Not everyone can work in a field that is going to change the world but people who are recognized for the purpose of their work and who can acknowledge it themselves are more likely to put their best effort into it. That being said, if they are putting their best effort forward they need to be recognized even if in just a one-on-one manner. I have a professor who has pulled me aside throughout the semester to remind me how much he appreciates my participation in class. That is something that is so encouraging and makes me feel like my efforts are noticed and are rewarded. I also am now more comfortable with asking this professor for help. If people are uncomfortable approaching their boss or coworkers for help they aren’t going to be as successful or productive. People need to be comfortable in their workplace. Obviously there would be some structure such as dress code in order to help keep everyone on the same basis and so people aren’t distracted from their work, but structure doesn’t have to be strict it just has to give people a framework to go off of so everyone is comfortable, focused, and capable of being highly productive.


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