There are more articles going around about how women don’t speak up in the conference room – but this time there is a new twist. Now we are being told of new perils if we do speak up – we are viewed as being too aggressive and we will be looked at disfavorably. So what’s the latest message? – We are damned if do and damned if we don’t?!
I wonder if this latest finding is because women took the last bit of advice – that women should jump into the fray – be just as aggressive as the men in the room in getting their ideas heard. Since people don’t like aggressive women (or men) the unfavorable feedback is not unexpected. I am still curious about the background (actual experience in the male-dominated conference room) of the people who write these articles because having your ideas heard in the conference room is a minor career goal.
Being the “idea person” is good, but what really counts, is being the person who implements the good idea – being the leader who puts the idea into action and makes the larger objective happen!
In time no one remembers (or cares) who came up with idea – what they remember is who achieved the objective.
When you are in a conference room and the guys are being loud, voicing their ideas it not just so the boss will say “Bob that is a great idea – you get a gold star.” It is because they want to be selected to be in charge of implementing the idea.
In the logic of the male-dominated workplace, your male peers believe that if they can fend off their competitors they will be chosen to be the leader. In their minds the leader has to defeat competitors so that is why they are so loud. But this is NOT how empowered women should think. This is NOT what empowered women do. Empowered women stay out of the Blue Zone!
Empowered women understand that leaders are not chosen, they do not wait for permission – they just do it.
This is why I wrote my articles on the Power Seat – so you bypass all of the aggressive behavior (“manterruptions”) and go right into being the leader in the conference room. And the great thing about the Power Seat is that it you don’t have to come up with the idea – it is a perfect technique to “bro-opt” back the men!
I have always chosen the projects I want to lead. I hear about a new objective and I start formulating my execution plan long before the meeting. I have already subtly picked everyone’s brains and rounded up the best ideas. That way when I pitch “my idea”, I have Bob’s, Jim’s and George’s ideas incorporated into my plan – I have them on board with supporting my plan.
Leaders have the execution plan. And that doesn’t require aggression – it is having confidence in yourself a leader because you used the Purple Approach to develop your plan. And you know your plan will work much better than any plan developed in autonomy by your male co-workers.
And one more thing – advice from my friends -on how to stop “manterruptions” in a meeting. Just invite a woman over 50 to the meeting. When a young man gets loud and interrupts we have no problem saying in a commanding voice with a stern glare “Excuse me! Someone is speaking and you are being rude. Please wait until she is done THEN you may speak.”
Empowered women know that having an idea is good, but implementing good ideas is how they build a career in the male-dominated workplace.