CHAPTER 8Make Them Comfortable: Tempering Assertiveness

By virtue of their gender, and the stereotypes that inadvertently leap to mind, we expect female authority figures to be engaging, comforting, and encouraging— and if we don’t get clear signals that they meet these expectations, we can see them as threatening and, yes, label them a “bitch.” Successful women in business are driven yet humorous, warm, or calming, thereby toning down their assertiveness. They break down tension and put others at ease without diminishing their status of authority. As discussed in earlier chapters, executive women temper assertiveness by toning down how they demonstrate confidence, the drive to achieve, and the power of influence. But in addition to filing down ...

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