Non-Threatening Leadership Strategies for Women (warning, extreme sarcasm ahead)

Though more women are holding their own in the corporate world today, they are still outnumbered by their male co-workers. Did you know there are more women than men in South Africa? Women comprise 51% of the total population. 

Yet women still remain relatively unrepresented in positions of authority and power even though South Africa’s Constitution sets out gender equality as a founding principle. The Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill calls for 50% representivity in decision-making positions.

According to labour data released for the second quarter of 2017, women fill 44% of skilled posts, which includes managers, professionals and technicians. This figure hasn’t changed over the years; it was 44% in September 2002.

Some may ask the question: maybe it is women themselves who are to blame for this under-representation? 

Read: Do women tend to underestimate their own abilities

According to Sarah Cooper, a career expert, writer and comedian, "female leaders need to make sure they’re not perceived as pushy, aggressive or competent." She recommends that one way to do that is for women to alter their leadership style.

Here are three of her tips:

#1 When setting a deadline, ask your coworker what he thinks of doing something, instead of just asking him to get it done. This makes him feel less like you’re telling them what to do and more like you care about his opinions.

#5 When you hear a sexist comment, the awkward laugh is key. Practice your awkward laugh at home, with your friends and family, and in the mirror. Make sure you sound truly delighted even as your soul is dying inside.

#9 When all else fails, wear a mustache so everyone sees you as more man-like. This will cancel out any need to change your leadership style. In fact, you may even get a quick promotion!

See the rest of Cooper's tips here

Read more about women in work here:

Why women should stop working in October every year 

Women in the boardroom: Why they're needed 

Women in finance need role models to break glass ceiling