Two Four-Letter Words Women Need to Get Ahead

“Support” comes in many forms when a woman manager is trying to get a grip on subtle bias at work.  A new study shows what works.

Discrimination is officially over. That’s why it’s so difficult to deal with cultural factors like a boss’s expectation that you always make work the top priority, no matter whatever else is happening in your life; or the sinking feeling that the guys are clued into some secret communication channel that gives them early notice of new opportunities.

A new study by the Simmons School of Management  peels back the self-coaching techniques that women managers use to deal with cultural bias.   It’s not how much networking you do. It’s whom you network with.

The headliner is that women need to line up a powerful advocate who can champion their work and correct others’ misconceptions  about their work.  Hitch your wagon to the power players and get them on your side. In other words, ‘help’ is the first four-letter word. You need it. Ask for it. But ask the right people.   Choose higher-ups who can advocate for your strengths, accomplishments and, most of all, for your potential. Ask men to do this for you. Ask women to do this for you.

The culture of the organization won’t change until individuals change how they perceive and promote talent. That brings me to the second four-letter word: “show.”  Advocate for the women behind you. Model for them what you want others to do for you.  Explain what they need for you to do. Do it. And explain what you did. Otherwise, how will they learn how to advocate for themselves?

 Image courtesy of Morguefile contributor clarita.

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