Last week a new study came out that may be quite alarming to my fellow businesswomen. According to research from Dr. Olivia O’Neill of George Mason University and Charles O’Reilly from Stanford University, women who “act like men” in the workplace—read: act pushy, aggressive, or overly confident—are less likely to succeed than those with more “feminine” traits. More ladylike, less go-getting types are apparently deemed more likeable and are thus more likely to be promoted.
“If they are seen to behave in a stereotypically male way, they may damage their chances of promotion, even if these traits are synonymous with successful managers,” Dr. O’Neill said.
That said, “bossy” women who self-monitored their behavior so as to appear less intimidating did improve their chances of promotion. So will acting like Joan Harris score you more points than acting like Peggy Olsen? I can’t help but think of some powerful women who prove otherwise. What do you think, readers?