Have you ever witnessed a male paying a “compliment” to a female colleague that did more harm than good? Unfortunately, the problem is not uncommon (Tweet it!). Psychologists Peter Glick and Susan Flake refer to it as benevolent sexism -- “a chivalrous attitude that suggests women are weak and need men’s protection”).
Consider a few of the “laudatory” remarks former (and fleeting) White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci made about Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders:
Scaramucci also described Sanders as “warm”— however research shows that if a woman is considered “nice” she is less likely to be deemed competent.
“Many men want to support women at work,” says David M. Mayer, associate professor at The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business (http://bit.ly/2tZW05y). “So let’s stop using methods that backfire and instead use compliments that acknowledge, and don’t undermine the competence, legitimacy, and status of our female colleagues.”
Have you ever had a co-worker pay you a “compliment” that had an undermining effect – whether intended or not? How did you respond? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
If you would like to read more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our book: Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion.
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