Girls should be taught that sexism in the workplace is an “attractive challenge” rather than developing a “hostile attitude” towards men, the former head of one of the country’s top schools has said. The article finished by saying “concentrate on the positives” of the future rather than on “putting on your armour for a battle”. Food for thought.
I was sent this article by an amazing mentor. I read with intrigue, as over the decades in business I reflected on my own behaviour, what it was that triggered the hostile versus the attractive challenge. Working in software and now telco sales predominantly male industries, I have developed a hostile attitude to the “boys club”.
As an example the attractive challenge approach gives support when a male is hiring, offering up a list of female candidates from your network, offering an introduction, or call them to see if they would be interested in the role. Offering to be on the interview panel. This approach is far more supporting and helpful to your unaware male colleagues, than being hostile over their behaviour.
The attractive challenge when facing a bias situation: I am often told I am passionate, a male would be called courageous. An attractive challenge is questions such as ‘what is different between me speaking up on an issue and John speaking up about this issue? Why is John courageous and I am passionate? ‘ Drawing the individual to their own realisation of bias. In contrast the hostile attitude is reacting with why do you label women as passionate and men courageous ? This is confrontational and wont achieve the same outcome.
We all have choices, the attractive challenge coming from a calm place and coaching which has a greater effect than a hostile attitude, where you can damage your brand and your relationships.