Beyond Babedom

We're (way) over 40. Deal with it.

I Can’t Hear You

I have often wondered why I’ve never made it into the executive levels of the companies I’ve worked for. But I know now; it’s how much I talk. Yes. I don’t talk enough.

A Yale School of Management study  “Who Takes the Floor and Why: Gender, Power, and Volubility in Organizations” found that men in power dominate conversations more than men without power. No surprise there. But what the study also uncovered is that “When men talk a lot and they have power, people want to reward them either by hiring them, voting for them, or just giving them more power and responsibility at work,” said the author, Tori Brescoll. “But when women do it, they are seen as being too domineering, too presumptuous. Women perceive this, and that’s why they temper how much they talk.”

Ah. So our problem isn’t that we’re talking too much. It’s that we’re  not talking enough.

I always thought that, to make it in business, you  had to act like a man. So, I do. Well,  not exactly. I never ask a woman to get me coffee and never, never ignore someone just because they’re not as important as I am (had to throw that in for my readers who think I’m a man hater). Oh, and I never sexually harass anyone either, unless they’ve made it clear they want me to.

But my question is, how do we win? If you don’t act all aggressive and domineering, you’re ignored. If you do, you’re an emasculating bitch. I guess we’ll all have to find some middle ground. You know, act all feminine and flirty while you cut off that snide male co-worker mid-sentence whenever he tries to make a suggestion or contribute to a discussion. Or encourage that up-and-coming- guy to discuss his ideas, then run into the boss’ office and claim them as your own. Kind of like what I’ve always done.

But at least this study clears up a lot of confusion I’ve had about not making it to CEO or at least Executive Vice President.


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This entry was posted on Friday, May 11th, 2012 at 12:20 PM and is filed under Career. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  1. Chris Munson says:

    From the aurhor’s C.V. “In 2004, Professor Brescoll worked in the office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton under a Congressional Fellowship.”

    I suppose if someone works in proximity to such a luminous body, it is inevitable that the retinas get burnt out.

    She’s kinda a Fox though, dontcha think?

  2. Kathy Hill says:

    Lucille, I think that study may be right in many cases, but not in yours. When did you ever hang back when you had a good idea? You made all the important people aware of it, even if it didn’t fly. That’s one of the things I admire about you. Shy, laid back Lucille gave me quite a giggle.

  3. ANGEL says:

    It is not always what you say but how you say it .. sometimes diplomacy is the key …

  4. Judy Herring says:

    The best way for a woman to be “heard” is to make booming accomplishments. Action speaks louder than words in many circumstances. It is also the best way for women to gain self-esteem. We were given two ears and only one mouth for a good reason – we should listen twice as much as we speak. Now that I;ve said that…….I’m all for speaking up when need to. I agree with Angel…how we say things make all the difference in the world.

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