- She hems and haws in meetings; never giving a real opinion on anything.
- Any idea she does have is hidden in a question or posed as “Maybe a possible suggestion…”.
- When asked what she thinks she responds with “Well I feel like….” or “I don’t know…”
- She sits in meetings like a mouse, saying nothing; but afterward complains and disagrees with the decisions that were made and blames others for failure that she “saw coming”.
Women like that give us all a bad name.
I wondered if anyone else had noticed this type of self-defeating behavior by women. I sent out a national query asking successful women for personal examples of things women do that contribute to the glass ceiling. I only have room to share a couple of the deluge of responses I received:
Career coach Andrea Ballard is the owner of Expecting Change, LLC. One of her greatest frustrations is women who don’t speak up during discussions. Instead they wait for everyone else in the room to speak (usually men) and when asked why they aren’t contributing to the conversation they say “I didn’t have anything new to add.”
In addition to speaking up in meetings Ballard encourages her female clients to reread their emails before they send them and remove all of the “I think” “It’s just my opinion” “It’s probably not my place” or “I may be wrong”. Emails should focus specifically on the recommendation and the value it brings to the company.
As a Regional Account Manager, author, and contributor to 30secondMom.com Jennifer Pereyra has seen women behave like someone else is in charge of managing their career development. She shared this story as an example:
One of my colleagues had approached me and asked what I had planned for the day. Among other things, I had a meeting scheduled with our boss that I had requested a couple of weeks prior. I had decided that I wanted to check in with him to discuss my strengths and developmental areas as well as discuss potential career opportunities. She barked back, “What? I have been here longer and he hasn’t had a one-on-one development discussion with me yet! That’s not right!”
Pereyra asserts, “You need to take charge of your own development and cannot take for granted that others know what you want or where you want to go with your career.”
The latest census numbers report women earn .77 to a man’s $1.00. That shows that the glass ceiling is firmly in place. But, in 2009 The Economist reported that woman made up 49.9% of the workforce. That means at least half of the glass ceiling problem rests squarely on us. And in this economy any edge we can get is one we should take. It is time we take responsibility and break the ceiling rather than just complain about it.
So what can you do to make sure you aren’t building the glass ceiling that is keeping you from advancing?
Three Things Women Must to do to Break the Glass Ceiling
1. Own Your Power
- Use “I” statements: “I know…” “My idea is…” “It was brought to my attention…”
- Be definitive and ask questions directly
2. Go with your gut
- Ask for more details
- Use “think” not “feel” in the boardroom
- Speak up before you become so annoyed you explode or the situation is so out of control it explodes
3. Stop The Drama!
- Don’t talk about the person: “You did this…” “They did that…”
- Discuss the problem: “This is what occurred…” “This is why it is a problem…” “This is how we are going to fix it…” “This is what needs to happen next time…
Do you think women are to blame for the glass ceiling? Why or why not? Don’t be silent! Share your input in the comments!
For more free tips on how to be powerful in any situation visit www.StopTheDramaNow.com and download the 7 No-Fail Secrets to Stop The Drama! and the 9 Secrets to Great Teamwork.
Doc Robyn is the Owner and President of the consulting/speaking business Champion Performance Development where she shares forgotten skills to success through executive coaching and organizational development. She is also the founder of the Stop The Drama! campaign; teaching young women how to engage in effective communication and productive conflict and the author of the book Stop The Drama! The ultimate guide to female teams. She is passionate about helping others achieve more from their potential by becoming powerful at the one thing common to all human interaction – getting our point across.