What does a Female Manager Look Like?

Yesterday someone (we’ll call Lady A) told me a short story about herself.  Lady A was hired to be a manager.  After a few days on the job, Lady B knocked on her office door.  Lady B explained that she used to be the manager in that role, but was demoted. 

I know both the Lady A and Lady B types.  They look, act and dress very differently.  They handle themselves differently at meetings.  They have a different tolerance level for bullshit among co-workers.  Why am I not surprised that Lady A was promoted and Lady B was demoted?

As much as I’d like to live in a fantasy world, the world world can be a harsh place.  In business your look and self-presentation MATTER.  Lady B wears fleeces over her work outfit every day.  Her hair is way too long for her age and quite unkempt.  She doesn’t wear makeup to work.  She slouches and bites her nails in meetings.  She sits back and lets her co-workers fight with each other in group settings. 

Lady A wears tailored clothes and wears makeup every day.  She styles her updated hair.  She maintains the little things (eyebrows, hair cuts, maincures, roots).  She dresses a tad nicer than she needs to in a business casual environment.  She sits up and looks engaged in meetings.  She has no tolerance for co-workers fighting and no one pushes it.

Who would YOU rather hire? 

Do you know more Lady A or Lady B type of managers? If you know any Lady B’s, do you find yourself wondering how they made manager?  Would you feel more confident with a Lady A type of manager?

I’ll take a Lady A any day. And as I work towards becoming a manager, I’m going to carry myself like a manager when it comes to self-presentation.  The little things do matter.  People are watching you.  If you can’t manage yourself, how can you be perceived as having the ability to manage others?

Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.

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