9 Non-Threatening Leadership Strategies for Women

In this fast-paced business world, female leaders need to make sure they’re not perceived as pushy, aggressive or competent. One way to do that is to alter your leadership style to account for the (sometimes) fragile male ego.

Should men accept powerful women and not feel threatened by them? Yes. Is that asking too much? IS IT? Sorry I didn’t mean to get aggressive there. Anyhoo, here are 9 non-threatening leadership strategies for women.

#1

Setting a deadline

When setting a deadline, ask your coworker what he thinks of doing something, instead of just asking him to get it done. This makes him feel less like you’re telling them what to do and more like you care about his opinions.

#2

Sharing your ideas

When sharing your ideas, overconfidence is a killer. You don’t want your male coworkers to think you’re getting all uppity. Instead, downplay your ideas as just “thinking out loud,” “throwing something out there,” or sharing something “dumb,” “random,” or “crazy.”

#3

Emailing a request

Pepper your emails with exclamation marks and emojis so you don’t come across as too clear or direct. Your lack of efficient communication will make you seem more approachable.

#4

Someone steals your idea

If a male coworker steals your idea in a meeting, thank him for it. Give him kudos for how he explained your idea so clearly. And let’s face it, no one might’ve ever heard it if he hadn’t repeated it.

#5

Hearing something sexist

When you hear a sexist comment, the awkward laugh is key. Practice your awkward laugh at home, with your friends and family, and in the mirror. Make sure you sound truly delighted even as your soul is dying inside.

#6

When you already know that

Men love explaining things. But when he’s explaining something and you already know that, it might be tempting to say “I already know that.” Instead, have him explain it to you over and over again. It will make him feel useful and will give you some time to think about out how to avoid him in the future.

#7

Finding a mistake

Pointing out a mistake is always risky so it’s important to always apologize for noticing the mistake and then make sure that no one thinks you’re too sure about it. People will appreciate your “hey what do I  know?!” sensibilities.

#8

Collaborating

When collaborating with a man, type using only one finger. Skill and speed are very off-putting.

#9

When you disagree

When all else fails, wear a mustache so everyone sees you as more man-like. This will cancel out any need to change your leadership style. In fact, you may even get a quick promotion!

About the author

Sarah Cooper

Sarah Cooper is a writer and comedian whose work has appeared on Huffington Post and Business Insider. She is an expert in career and relationship advice for people who like to laugh.

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