Saturday, October 29, 2011

Four Ways Men Stunt Women's Careers Unintentionally

[Note: While my intention in the original version of this post was to engage in fair use for the purposes of parody, I have decided to modify the post to help allay copyright concerns.]

I came across this article in a Harvard Business Review blog, by Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath, and Mary Davis Holtthrough a Linked In mailing list:

I would like to suggest a few minor improvements to this article:

  • The title is should be: 
    • Four Ways Women Men Stunt Their Women's Careers Unintentionally
  • The first "low-confidence behavior" confidence-lowering behavior involves modesty: 
    • Being overly modest. Discouraging modesty. We see that men are more willing to take public credit for brag about their successes. Women believe understand that their accomplishments should speak for themselves, and they spend waste less effort ensuring they get the gold star next to their name. While modesty is a nice character trait Modesty is an admirable character trait, it's naive to believe that your boss, your clients, or your colleagues will recognize your accomplishments and it's important to recognize women's accomplishments even if you they fly under the radar.

  • The second involves the risks of not asking for promotions being smart about giving promotions:
    • Not asking. Not noticing accomplishments. We've seen it over and over again: women fail to get promoted men fail to promote women because they fail to step up and apply they expect them to waltz right in and demand it. It feels is personally risky to step-up and ask for to waltz in and demand a big job or assignment — but there's really no other way and waiting for someone to do this is obviously not the best way to find the right candidate. Not asking means you've lost the chance to influence the outcome.  Failing to actively seek out qualified candidates for promotions means you may have lost the chance to get the best outcome.

  • The third involves the perils of blending in encouraging gratuitous attention seeking:

    • Blending in. Privileging attention-getting behavior. Some women go to great lengths to try to avoid unnecessary attention. They don't want to stand out without a good reason — in meetings, in the boardroom or even in the elevator. A client from one of our workshops told us that her greatest fear was riding the elevator with the CEO. What would she say to him? Would they talk about the weather? But blending in Creating an environment that privileges attention-getting behavior means you are missing opportunities — every single day — to stand out and sell your ideas to get the best ideas. Another client we know (also a women) waits in the lobby has resorted to waiting in the lobby many mornings in order to ride the elevator with the CEO. Her confidence has never been questioned — at the cost of losing productive time.

  • The fourth is about the problem of women not speaking up men not letting women speak:

    • Remaining silent. Not listening to women. It's not easy to get a word in during meetings, especially when six other colleaguesoften men with deeper and louder voices, are all fighting for the floor engaging in verbal aggression to dominate the discussion. But failing to speak up and express yourself Talking over women when you they have something relevant to add is a missed chance to get in the game to get the best ideas. Getting your point of view across Allowing multiple points of view to be heard during important discussions is essential for your career business. 

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