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Four Phrases That Make You Sound Weak to Your Coworkers

Your word choices can build you up or tear you down

For women in the workplace, fighting implicit gender biases is a constant struggle. Due to baked-in stereotypes, they battle against the unconscious assumption that women are less talented and capable than men. The problem is that when women conform to these stereotypical characteristics, they are viewed as likable but too “soft” for leadership; and when women flout female stereotypes and behave in agentive and masculine ways (such as expressing decisiveness and forcefulness), they are often viewed as too “hard” to be likable.

Together, we have written extensively about how women can navigate this dilemma, find ways to be “just right,” and avoid or overcome the discriminatory consequences of gender bias. In our book, Breaking Through Bias, we present a variety of communication techniques women can use to increase their career success despite the presence of gender bias in their workplaces.

But wholly apart from the positive steps women can take to counter gender bias, there are a number of things they should not do—chief among them is using words and phrases that reinforce gender bias. Here are some key examples of these linguistic missteps and the reasons they should be banished from your vocabulary.

Please select this link to read the complete article from Fast Company. 

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