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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Willey

Fearless in 5: How to Overcome the Double Bind

One of the biggest barriers for equity at work is something called the “Double Bind.” It holds women to a higher standard than men when it comes to communicating. And that’s why in this Fearless in 5 we’ll talk about what the Double Bind is and what you can do about it.

  1. What does a leader look and sound like? Research shows that leaders are identified as those who traditionally male attributes: being clear, direct, decisive and assertive.

  2. Women need to adopt stereotypically female communication attributes so they don’t get labeled with all of those bad words like being “abrasive” or “bossy” or rhymes with “witchy.” Those feminine attributes include being warm, caring, empathetic and prosocial, or looking out for the good of the group.

  3. The modern leader should exhibit both the traditionally male and female attributes.

  4. How do you do this? Start off every meeting or conversation by showing that you do care and that you’re empathetic. The easiest way is to ask about their weekend, their family or their pets.

  5. Finally, when you’re in the heart of the meeting, be clear, direct, decisive and assertive. Don’t worry about couching what it is that you want to say in a way that will be perceived as being nice.

Let’s stop holding women to a higher standard and all be the modern, caring, inclusive leaders that we can be so we can get rid of that “Double Bind.”

To learn more about being fearless at work and in life, visit Wet Cement at

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