Mixing bravery and perfection

“How difficult it is to make the guys to comply and getting work done by them in time bound manner, on the other hand the girls always tend to panic and go to the “let us correct it soon mode”; I thought to myself while preparing my team feedbacks.

“This is too hard a categorization”, snapped my mind, “You cannot mark them all on that general scale”. Well may be yes, this may not apply to all, as exceptions make crucial part of otherwise boring linear statistics. However, the idea behind this,is the real manifestation of the struggle that I have faced as a team lead and mentor. And I am sure that I can find many votes on this from the other ones wearing these hats. Male team members are outperformers and your go to people in time of crisis, but they can drive you crazy with their slackness and “it will be done, just chill” attitude. They don’t realize how difficult it is for their perfection oriented and failure aversive female lead. On the other side the ladies always have their attention flags raised. A casual off way remark on some delay can press the panic button and they start questioning their overall performance and impression. To sum up my experience the boys will always be able to cover, justify and correct their delays, however girls will take the fault-finding route and dissect themselves to find what they did wrong.

Both these differences may not be always vocal, however if you connect to the psyche of your team members, this applies to most of them. Now, please do not see it as one of those feminism or anti feminism points, nevertheless this difference exists everywhere around us, in schools, offices or homes. If we look at the academic records of the schools, girls always seem to outshine the boys in results at all levels. Yet fast forward few years in industry, the numbers just change as dramatically. The reason is not the lack of the opportunities only. We have come a long way in that area and there are decent opportunities for females across the fields now. However, the gap still exists.

Few days ago I came across the TED talk by Reshma Saujani. Reshma is a politician and lawyer. She is the founder and CEO of ‘Girls who Code’ organization. The talk seemed to be in complete sync with my thoughts and helped me to connect to the reason behind the same. It points that the way we upbring the girls and boys makes one perfection oriented and other brave enough to call shots. The lack of risk-taking capabilities starts pushing the girls once the opportunities for them need them to make choices that are not straightforward.

They get meshed up in the if and buts while taking calls. On the other their male counterparts are always taking it heads on, ready to see as it comes. The habit of being too safe and too sure created in them from start limits their reach. They want to be sure of the success while taking the step ahead. This does not imply only to the career choices but otherwise also. They must be sure where they get to stay, details of the place before planning a getaway.  Boys can just pack the bags and march towards their destination. Our moms feel that if they are not sure about the breakfast menu, entire family schedule will go haywire. They cannot come to term that once a day “eat anything you find” breakfast is okay.

The ideas of associating prettiness and perfection with feminine is so deep rooted that we do not find it as awkward. Start with the clothes for newborn, cartoons for kids, accessories for teens, career preferences for youth, the mark of perfection for girls; loud and boldness for boys is too visible to ignore. Though at all levels barring the clothes for newborn the choice lies with individuals, however the psychological impact of this pattern fixates our behaviors.

The idea of limiting the girls to be perfect and boys to be daring takes away the opportunity of wholesome growth from both. So next time when you are rooting for a male ask him to see compliance as important as being brave, and for females, ask her to take her chances and not be restricted by the ideas of success and perfection always.

The TED talk is a great insight to hear to.


Learner for life, from life

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