Am 22. Juni 2020  von dr.fem.FATALE

Dr. Simo­ne Burel, the foun­der and mana­ging direc­tor of LUB GmbH, on the start of the FATALE Uni­ver­si­ty and how to push for­ward your care­er

You want to pro­mo­te women’s care­ers with an online pro­gram. Why do they need ‘tuto­ring’ and what would you have to teach men in con­trast?

Tuto­ring sounds too nega­ti­ve and too pas­si­ve to me as we don’t want to lec­tu­re women and we don’t want them to catch up on things they mis­sed or didn’t under­stand on their own. Rather, we want to empower or as we say “fem­power” them. Our aim is for women to deve­lop their full poten­ti­al, to be self-con­fi­dent in their abi­li­ties ins­tead of hiding them. And it’s not only women, but also young men, who suf­fer from the role cli­chés and ste­reo­ty­pes that still per­sist in many pla­ces. Peop­le don’t want to be aut­ho­ri­ta­ri­an, dys­func­tio­n­al doers à la Trump, but open and empha­tic col­leagues – that’s bene­fi­cial for ever­yo­ne. The­re­fo­re, we should stop using empty phra­ses that per­pe­tua­te such ste­reo­ty­pes.

What cour­ses are taught at the FATALE Uni­ver­si­ty?

At FATALE Uni­ver­si­ty we teach ambi­tious women how to suc­cess­ful­ly posi­ti­on them­sel­ves, using the most inno­va­ti­ve blen­ded lear­ning con­cept that’s cur­r­ent­ly avail­ab­le on the mar­ket. For this pur­po­se we deve­lo­ped sci­en­ti­fi­cal­ly-based modu­les on various topics, such as Mind­set, Per­so­nal Bran­ding, the Per­fect CV, Fema­le Finan­ce, Fema­le Lea­ders­hip and many more. The­se modu­les are our digi­tal ‘brain’, becau­se we have incor­po­ra­ted the most important and most popu­lar con­tents from our work­shops, lec­tures and coa­ching ses­si­ons, as well as my spe­cia­list books, inclu­ding the recent­ly publis­hed ‘Fema­le Lea­ders­hip’ – ‘Frau­en in Füh­rung in der digi­ta­len Arbeits­welt’. The aim of all modu­les is for women to break down their men­tal bar­ri­ers, learn to stand up for them­sel­ves and ulti­mate­ly beco­me more suc­cess­ful. The­re­fo­re, our mot­to is: Fem­power your care­er!

You talk about fema­le lea­ders­hip. How is it dif­fe­rent from male lea­ders­hip?

Lea­ders­hip in gene­ral has, so far, been asso­cia­ted main­ly with qua­li­ties such as domi­nan­ce and self-con­fi­dence – qua­li­ties, that are typi­cal­ly attri­bu­t­ed to men. This has been known as the think mana­ger, think male phe­no­me­non for a good thir­ty years now – regard­less of whe­ther or not it cor­re­sponds to rea­li­ty. Fema­le lea­ders­hip means, that women are just as self-con­fi­dent and self-evi­dent as men when it comes to con­tri­bu­ting their poten­ti­al and pro­fes­sio­nal suc­cess to the manage­ment of com­pa­nies. We urgent­ly need incen­ti­ves to get more women into lea­ding posi­ti­ons. Lea­ders­hip must be trea­ted as a tan­gi­ble skill and inter­na­li­zed as ear­ly as pos­si­ble in the lives of young women. Unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly, this has not yet been imple­men­ted ever­y­whe­re, but the pic­tu­re is shif­ting, as a result of digi­tiz­a­ti­on and Working World 4.0. For­tu­n­a­te­ly, digi­tiz­a­ti­on is enhan­cing social and com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ve skills and making empa­thic and intui­ti­ve lan­guage more valued – in other words, pre­cise­ly the qua­li­ties that are women’s strong suits and that make a good lea­der. Luck­i­ly, the boss type of the male ‘alpha’ is a dis­con­ti­nued model. Today we know: Lea­ders­hip needs empa­thy and dia­lo­gue. This is also cal­led emo­tio­nal agi­li­ty and women are usual­ly very good at it.

The spe­cial thing about your approach is the focus on lan­guage and lin­gu­is­tics. To what extent can this be a tool to ulti­mate­ly chan­ge rea­li­ty – and why are we still unde­re­sti­ma­ting it?

First of all, we should rea­li­ze that lan­guage is not only a means of exch­an­ging fac­tu­al infor­ma­ti­on, but it crea­tes rela­ti­ons­hips and worlds of mea­ning, both for the sen­der and the recei­ver. Lan­guage is our human super power and the tool, which peop­le have always used to make a chan­ge, becau­se lan­guage shapes the way we think and human per­cep­ti­on. Con­ver­se­ly, thin­king is reflec­ted in lan­guage. This is why it is such an important star­ting point for influ­en­cing our mind­set and our care­ers. For examp­le, when I always talk about the fact that I will “even­tual­ly move up” or “stay in sci­ence”, it is some­what vague. “I would like to beco­me a mana­ger, group lea­der or pro­fes­sor”, on the other hand, are qui­te dif­fe­rent lin­gu­is­tic anchors that con­crete­ly influ­ence my way of thin­king. Many well-edu­ca­ted women do not talk about the pri­zes, awards or deals they have won, but rather deva­lue their achie­ve­ments, tend to attri­bu­te them to the team. This com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ve stra­te­gy is cal­led down­gra­ding. This atti­tu­de runs through all indus­tries and affects both old and young genera­ti­ons of women. Behind it all is a long-estab­lis­hed pat­tern of thin­king, that women should stay in the back­ground and not brag about their achie­ve­ments. This needs to be over­co­me, and it can be done by chan­ging the lan­guage – becau­se this also chan­ges mecha­nism of down­gra­ding. It makes a big dif­fe­rence, for examp­le, if I say, “I could ima­gi­ne giving the pre­sen­ta­ti­on, perhaps” or “I’ll give the pre­sen­ta­ti­on.” This is what we are unco­vering at FATALE Uni­ver­si­ty. Lan­guage also plays a cru­cial role in lea­ders­hip.

Which cli­ché can you no lon­ger stand any­mo­re in this con­text?

The ste­reo­ty­pe, that women talk a lot without say­ing anything and men get to the point fas­ter gets on my ner­ves – espe­cial­ly sin­ce it’s not true at all: Gen­der lin­gu­is­tics can­not pro­ve that women real­ly do talk more. Nevertheless, expres­si­ons such as ‘Klatsch­tan­te’ (‘gos­sip aunt’) per­sist, whe­re­as we search in vain for a ‘Klatsch­on­kel’ (‘gos­sip uncle’). By the way, this examp­le shows us once again the con­nec­tion bet­ween the lan­guage and thin­king! Even expres­si­ons, such as ‘girls’ or ‘women’s issue’ sug­gest that the­re is a homo­ge­ne­ous group of women, who have a spe­ci­fic way of acting. This is not true, becau­se just like men, all women are dif­fe­rent and each of them is uni­que. This know­ledge about the pos­si­bi­li­ty to value one’s own indi­vi­dua­li­ty and to stra­te­gi­cal­ly bring it to bear for oneself is what we teach at FATALE Uni­ver­si­ty.


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