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Leadership Communication -- Seven Key Behaviors in a 'Me Too' World
From:
Roberta Guise, MBA -- Small Business Marketing Expert Roberta Guise, MBA -- Small Business Marketing Expert
San Francisco , CA
Tuesday, March 03, 2020

 

Four Things Not To Do:

 
1) Never praise a male for an idea he poached from a female colleague who proposed it a few minutes prior. It's a well-documented micro-aggression that men engage in to make themselves look smart by making the woman who owns the idea look incompetent and weak. Counter this behavior by saying, "Thank you Jim for affirming that Sarah's idea is valuable. This is a great idea, Sarah, thank you"
 
2) Don't say: I don't like that idea. It shuts off all discussion because people will feel uncomfortable disagreeing with you.
 
3) Don't use the word "but.." Instead, say "and…" The word "but" negates everything you just said. It can trigger people to get defensive as they hear "but" and anticipate the negative that's about to follow.
 
4) Related to "but"… Be aware of your tone of voice when you want to offer a critique. Don't let your voice sound as though you're saying nice things as a prelude to a public criticism. Example of don't do: "Nice draft, but you missed items needed for the project" Say instead: "That's a great draft. At what point will you consider the other items needed for the project"?
 

Three Things To Do:

 
1) Call on females to participate and speak up at least as frequently as you call on males. Men will dominate meetings if given the chance. Women tend to stay silent or participate less actively, especially if there are only one or two women in a meeting dominated by men. By calling on women to respond you get them to participate.  
 
2) Acknowledge each person's participation. People want to feel heard and acknowledged. They'll be more productive, collaborative and creative as a result.
 
3) Allow everyone to speak before you impart your opinion on an item. If you tell people your thoughts too soon, it can stifle discussion because attendees won't want to disagree with you.


In Summary: Focus on three core areas to create a culture that makes women feel valued and included:



One: Conduct unconscious bias training across all roles and business units. Anyone who has a brain has bias; becoming aware of it and practicing unbiased behaviors will be highly effective at making the workplace friendlier to women. Make unconscious bias training mandatory in companies where women leave at higher rates than men.

Two: Intentionally and aggressively groom women for leadership. Don't wait for women to raise their hands to advance their careers — encourage them. Remove barriers such as management attitudes that cause women to disengage and turn their backs on leadership opportunities.

Three: Conduct and publish an annual salary analysis to determine whether there are gender-based pay disparities. Make the upward adjustments when you find a pay gap. Expect the gap to reappear in subsequent years until you've established a standard that's free from bias, and religiously adhere to the standard.

ABOUT:  Roberta Guise is a trusted advisor to professionals, consultants and experts on growing their influence and shaping their reputation through developing their personal brand. She also guides small business CEOs on growth strategies and marketing. Roberta is Founder and President of FemResources, a nonprofit to close the gender gap in tech and engineering. She’s a speaker and delegate who represents San Francisco at the UN Commission on the Status of Women. She’s based in San Francisco.
 
Roberta Guise, MBA
Guise Marketing and PR
San Francisco, CA
415-420-6276