We’ve both seen it happen again and again. When a woman speaks in a professional setting, she walks a tightrope. Either she’s barely heard or she’s judged as too aggressive. When a man says virtually the same thing, heads nod in appreciation for his fine idea. As a result, women often decide that saying less is more. …
Obviously, businesses need to find ways to interrupt this gender bias. Just as orchestras that use blind auditions increase the number of women who are selected, organizations can increase women’s contributions by adopting practices that focus less on the speaker and more on the idea. For example, in innovation tournaments, employees submit suggestions and solutions to problems anonymously. Experts evaluate the proposals, give feedback to all participants and then implement the best plans.
Since most work cannot be done anonymously, leaders must also take steps to encourage women to speak and be heard. At “The Shield,” Mr. Mazzara, the show runner, found a clever way to change the dynamics that were holding those two female employees back. He announced to the writers that he was instituting a no-interruption rule while anyone — male or female — was pitching. It worked, and he later observed that it made the entire team more effective.
The long-term solution to the double bind of speaking while female is to increase the number of women in leadership roles.
Click here to read entire article: Speaking While Female:Why Women Stay Quiet at Work
By Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant via The New York Times
January 9, 2015