Underestimate men, poor girls, women

The glass ceiling is real. But this is only noticed by those who push against it or watch how others ricochet off it. From a purely legal point of view, women and men today have the same opportunities in professional life and every company that does not admit to this matter of course would have a full-blown problem plus shit storm on the neck. But beyond the Basic Law and company guidelines, completely different forces act on the career paths of men and women: There are barriers in their own heads, the barriers in the heads of bosses, colleagues, and female colleagues.

They make it harder for women to assert themselves in the job. The trick to overcoming these invisible hurdles is to even notice them - because if you know what you keep bumping into your knee, you can finally take the big step over it. All women should be familiar with these six psychological mechanisms of action. And since women and men are not that fundamentally different, there is also one or two career tips for men.

Hurdle 1: Too little self-confidence

"Oh no, I can't do that" - this saying is much more likely to be heard from a woman than from a man. Hardly any psychological concept on the subject of man-woman differences can be proven so reliably: men overestimate, women underestimate their abilities. Polite understatement would not be such a big problem in itself, but lower self-confidence also affects actual performance. Women do worse in knowledge or concentration tests - not because they actually know less or are less able to concentrate, but because they skip or break off individual tasks in the belief that they would fail anyway.

Why is this a career obstacle? Nothing is as essential for professional success as self-confidence - the US journalists Claire Shipman and Katty Kay have written an entire book about this called "The Confidence Gap" (here is the link to a very readable one The Atlantic-Article of the two). After all, all knowledge, all technical competence, is of little use if you don't trust yourself to do tasks in which you can show them. Women only apply for a higher position if they meet 100 percent of the requirements; men 60 are enough - this was the result of an analysis of internal applicant data at Hewlett Packard.

What helps against it: Think less, just do it! That sounds easier than it is, but it pays off twice. Because with every new project, every mastered task, trust in one's own abilities grows. Success leads to more success - why should only those nose-wise colleagues benefit from this rule, who stretch their arms at every opportunity and: "Here, here, here, I can do that!" call.

Hurdle 2: Equal and equal like to join ...

People like people who are like them. The simple reason: You have the feeling that you can assess your counterpart well. And at the same time, a similarly knitted item gives you the reassuring feeling of being okay and in the right place yourself. This sympathy effect has been well researched and extends not only to origin, skin color and favorite football club, but also to gender.

Why is this a career obstacle? Because in companies it is mainly men who sit in the decision-making executive chairs and this changes little if this hurdle further contributes to the fact that men are more likely to hire and promote men. "Oh, that's how I was 15 years ago," the boss thinks much more easily with a male applicant.

What helps against it: So a small operation and a full beard ... kidding aside. Fortunately, sympathy through similarity cannot only be established through the same primary sexual characteristics. Are you from the same small town as the HR manager? Did you study the same as your boss? Do you think similarly about meeting culture or the preparation of green tea? Pick up on here. And make it clear what kind of person you are and what makes you tick - this will make you predictable for your counterpart.