Tag Archives: Men vs Women

You are not your mistakes


 By: Anja Uitdehaag

To make mistakes is human; to stumble is commonplace; to be able to laugh at yourself is maturity – William Arthur Ward

Making no mistakes is, of course, impossible.

There are some very interesting gender differences in how men and women view mistakes. In “How Men Think”, Adrienne Mendell notes the different reactions of men and women regarding their mistakes. Women, in general, have a more difficult time when they make mistakes. She says this is because women are socialized to feel differently about mistakes. Boys are raised to be respected by their team if they learn from what they did wrong. Mistakes provide an opportunity to do better the next time.

But for girls, it is different. When girls make mistakes, they are consoled. This reinforces the idea that they should feel badly about the mistakes.

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Situation 43: asking for approval

Femsy wants to organize a two days teambuilding meeting with her team. She asks Boss to approve her request. Due to budget pressures Boss rejects.

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A great leader:

  • Is focused on doing value-add activities that enhance the capabilities of her people and delivers superior performance for the organization;
  • Is clear about the rationale for people development activities and the return on investment;
  • Manages her budget wisely so that she can enhance the effectiveness of her team and deliver on all her commitments within budgetary constraints
  • Demonstrates her trustworthiness in handling financial matters.

How to best handle the situation:

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Do you really need to ask?

The Blue Fairy – Pinocchio

By: Anja Uitdehaag

 American actress Doris Roberts once said:

“I think women are taught to ask permission about everything. We don’t realize that we are entitled and we do have a say in our lives.”

The behavior of seeking permission from others is ingrained in us from an early age. In childhood we are taught that we need to ask permission from someone else to do certain things. As a child this is appropriate, but as we grow up many of us hold onto that behavior and it does us more harm than good.

It is a common notion that men do not ask for permission. They ask forgiveness.

While we’re asking to be allowed to do something, our male colleagues may already be doing it.

It seems that women ask permission more out of habit than from really needing someone to give them the green light. It is a variation of asking questions to play it safe – but potentially more self-defeating.

By seeking permission before acting, you are less likely to be accused of making mistakes but you are also less likely to be viewed as a confident risk-taker.

Asking permission lowers your status to that of a child, i.e. someone who always needs to be afforded permission.

You also set yourself up to hear “no”.

For those women who are striving for flexibility to achieve for example a desired work/life balance, constantly asking permission can be a significant barrier to attaining it.

Rather than ask permission, you should inform others of your plans (“I just wanted to let you know I’ll be working from home tomorrow. I’ve got a delivery coming.”)

By informing others you show respect for their need to know, but without your action being contingent upon their approval.

If people have a problem with what you’re saying, they’ll let you know. You can then negotiate from a position of greater strength.

Constant permission seeking behaviors may limit your ability to achieve goals, build the career you want and live your life the way you want.

Don’t limit yourself. Stop effectively building your own career barriers.

Take the ball and run with it. Your boss will be grateful.

A challenge for you:

 “Ask for forgiveness, not permission” is an adage that reminds us that sometimes it is better to trust your instincts and judgment and take risks rather than seek the approval of someone else before taking action.

Do you dare to take a risk on something that you truly believe in even if it puts you out on a limb?

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Situation 40: Standing your ground

Femsy presents a proposal in the Management Meeting. She knows her material inside and out since she spent a lot of time researching the feasibility and its impact on the company. As soon as she is questioned during the meeting she backs into “Maybe you are right”. As a result, no decision was taken about the proposal during the meeting. Boss calls Femsy into his room furiously: although Femsy was absolutely right she created a situation where it would be very hard to get the team believing in her idea.

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carl jung2

According to a 2010 study in the journal Psychological Science, “women have a lower threshold for what constitutes offensive behavior,” and hence are more likely to see a need for an apology in everyday situations.

Women apologize more, and they seem to do so to be compliant and empathetic.

Should women “man up?”

Could apologizing be holding women back at work?

View one: Continue reading

Man, I feel like a Woman


By: Joan van den Brink

Eleanor Roosevelt was the wife of President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and a stateswoman in her own right. She was a strong-minded and courageous leader who followed her ‘True North’ to campaign for and champion causes that transformed the lives of many disadvantaged Americans.  Once her husband’s political career took off she blossomed as an independent thinker and became a strong advocate for social reform to better the lives of the underprivileged.  She revolutionized the role of First Lady by constantly acting in ways that were new to the position: holding regular press conferences, writing a daily newspaper column, publishing books and articles, travelling the nation on speaking tours, chairing national conferences in the White House, addressing national conventions of social reform organizations, giving a keynote address at her party’s presidential convention, representing her nation abroad, travelling battlefields, and directing a government agency.  She played a critical role in the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by skillfully creating an atmosphere that permitted the blending of ideas and norms of different cultures together into a document that nations around the globe could assent to while marshaling U.S. support for swift passage of the declaration.   In short, she was an authentic leader.

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Embracing Our Strengths And Weaknesses As Women

64df1b74-344d-46e8-ab09-68feacb9ea97By: Matheen

In celebration of the upcoming March 8th International Women’s Day, I would like to share and highlight women’s undeniable knack for embracing their strengths and weaknesses as women of today.

One is not quite sure if it’s down to women having two X chromosomes — is it because as women — we have 153 base pairs more than men (153 base pairs are the building material of a DNA and represents about 2,000 out of 20,000 – 25,000 genes), therefore we are genetically more equipped to handle more stress and be more resilient amidst life’s adversities? Continue reading



In the first 26 minutes of the US Presidential Debate alone, Trump interrupted Clinton 25 times; in the total debate more than 50 times. This did not go unnoticed on Twitter.

The phenomenon of women getting unnecessarily interrupted in work meetings is so common it has a name: “manterrupting.”

Studies show when women speak up at work, they are more likely to be interrupted and less likely to be credited for their contributions. As a result, women speak up less than their male counterparts.

We all exhibit unconscious gender bias. Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant phrased it as follows:

“When a woman speaks in a professional setting she walks a tight rope. Either she’s barely heard or she’s judged as too aggressive. When a man says virtually the same thing, heads nod in appreciation for his fine idea.” 

I have two more self-explaining new words for you:

  • Mansplaining: A term to describe when a man patronizingly explains something to a woman, under the supposed assumption that she couldn’t possibly understand because she’s a woman;
  • Bropriating: When a man takes credit for a woman’s idea at a meeting.

Putting a funny or sarcastic name to bad or dominant behavior can be empowering for women, but it is clear there’s still a lot of work to do regarding communication diversity & equality.

Anja Uitdehaag

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com