Don’t blur the competition between women message

by | Feb 6, 2016

Competition between women is inevitable and healthy

women and competition

Women and competition is healthy

There's a lot of stuff written on social media about competition between women. Some of it makes sense and some of it is confusing. Organizations are pyramids with fewer roles at the top than at the bottom. It is inevitable that at some level, as more and more women are in the talent pipeline, at some point they will be in competition with other women.

Many would say that women aren't competitive. I would suggest re-framing that. I think it's more accurate to say they are not as competitive in the workplace as men. We have also been made to feel guilty about being competitive. We need to get over that.  Here are the reasons:

  1. The male nature of corporate culture makes it a disincentive to compete
  2. Women don't want to compete because  prescribed male goals are not attractive enough for them. "Work 14 hour days, not see my partner or family ... get sick.. thanks.. I'll pass"
  3. Women don't know how to compete in the workplace. They are new arrivals on the corporate competition scene and lack practise.
  4. Women experience gender blow back when they do compete, from both men and women
  5. Women have been raised to think that competing with other women is not empowering them. [Tweet "As more women enter the talent pipeline that is just nonsense. "]

Others would say there is a dark side to competition amongst women. This has been contested. There is a massive difference between competing in the workplace and bullying. There is no doubt that women do bully others in all areas of life, just as men do. Women tend to bully other women because they can be easier targets for them. [Tweet "The workplace is not the only trigger factor."] It also happens in schools, in communities, online and in social groups.

Competition is inevitable

"You're not in competition with other women. You're in competition with everyone." Tina Fey

Competition between women is inevitable. Healthy competition needs to be consciously achieved via coaching and training, plus an overall awareness.

Here are some things to factor in.

  • [Tweet "Rivalry doesn't mean sabotage"]. If a woman is a high performer and is successful we should support her. It doesn't mean to say we have to agree with everything she says or does, because she's female.
  • If you are in competition with another man or woman it is OK to put your needs first. [Tweet "Give yourself permission to succeed."]women fighting2
  • We do need to pay attention to how we communicate disagreement and focus on the issue not the person, unless they are a complete nut like Sarah Palin.
  • We continue to campaign for gender diversity in our organizations to give more women the chance, to level the playing field. If a successful woman doesn't do that - that does make a Queen Bee.
  • We work to manage unconscious bias in both men and women especially in recruitment, selection and promotion processes
  • We mentor women who come across our paths to develop their skills and confidence. If a woman won't do that, in some shape or form - she's a Queen bee.
  • [Tweet "Be wary of gender blow back. "]A woman who trail blazes is paving the way for other women - in her own way. Provided that she doesn't sabotage or block other women she is not a Queen Bee. Read: A case for the Alpha Bitch.

Contact 3Plus if your company wants to hire & develop women leaders.

Staff Writer: Career Contributor
3Plus welcomes any writers to join 3Plus as a Staff Writer. If you are an expert in Job Search, Career and Mentoring or just want to share your experiences, contact us! We would love to give you a voice!

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