A team report
Gender lens, Double bind – a new perspective
Our first A team meeting was an interesting experience. It was surprising to learn about each other’s experiences in light of the new concepts we learnt in class such as gender lens, double bind, glass ceiling and relational malpractice. One such incident which was discussed at great length is described here. One of us, being in a highly male dominated liquor industry in a sales function, faced strong negative gender bias and was met with sarcasm and angst. Leading veteran members twice her age in her team, she faced difficulties getting to the root of issues, since the members maintained a masculinity perception and were unwilling to reveal problems that might make them look vulnerable. The team lacked motivation and had an internal rift, which was being reflected in the quarterly sales. The group realized that she was facing the problem of a ‘double bind’. When she tried to be approachable and understanding by individually meeting with members and addressing their concerns, she was looked upon as being too soft to aggressively drive sales and achieve targets. She was also looked at being interfering when she tried to re-structure processes to mitigate orthodox practices that the seasoned team was comfortable with. The group also pointed out that she may be faced with the classic glass ceiling in an orthodox organizational structure that’ll prevent her upward growth. We suggested she take a step by step approach to move through the labyrinth. As a leader, it is essential to find the balance between delegating and motivating. Moreover, to overcome double-bind, the first step would be to gain trust. This can be done through starting off with a hands-on leadership style, spending more time on field with members, engaging team members and then moving on to a more dominant supervisory role, putting in place targets, strategies and control mechanisms.
Voice – Speech is silver, Silence is not always...
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