February 23, 2011

Developing People ... Inspiring SuccessTM 


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   Volume 8, Issue 2   February 2011   ISSN 1556-3820

“Not being heard is no reason for silence."

– Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)

Note From Regina 


I’ve recently had an experience that has both surprised and disappointed me. In an online discussion forum, I posted an article with the comment, “Here’s a first. According to the Daily Beast, the top earner for corporate boards is a woman. It's about time." (For more details, read my blog post: Is this woman’s “first” something to celebrate?)

As a result, I received some interesting comments in the forum as well as a few emails. Clearly those responding did not agree with my comment. What bugged me was that their responses made me feel as if they didn’t want to hear other viewpoints, particularly mine. One respondent even suggested it might have to do with the fact that we were from different generations. Maybe I’m being a bit sensitive but I took this as a put-down.

If you’ve ever felt like I have, like someone was trying to “shut you down,” then be sure to read this month’s feature article, Three Reasons Why Women Don’t Get Heard at Work!

This month let’s make it a point to be heard. Please share your comments on my blog or send me an email at info@redladder.com. I, for one, would love to know what you think even if we don’t agree.

Until next month! 

Regina Barr

Web: redladder.com
Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/reginabarr

P.S. I stand by my opinion on the top earner for corporate boards being a woman which is, it’s about time!

   Feature Article

Three Reasons Why Women Don't Get Heard at Work!

There’s nothing quite like being told to keep quiet. Well, most people aren’t quite that direct. In fact, in business circles, I’d say we’re much more polite using passive aggressive means instead to silence those we disagree with. Sometimes we do it in such a way that those being silenced don’t even know they’re being silenced. I may be biased but I think women, in particular, are targeted for silence at work.

Here are some of the reasons why I think more women don’t get heard at work.

Women don’t raise their hands and when they do, they don’t keep them up. Have you seen the TED Talk video of Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, talking about why we have too few women leaders? (View Video) Sheryl gave a similar talk to employees at Facebook. What fascinated me was the comment she received from a young woman working for her organization. As she was wrapping up, Sheryl said she'd have time for two more questions. She took one question, then another. At that time, the young woman told Sheryl that she put her hand down – along with all the other women in the audience. Then Sheryl proceeded to take more questions from the audience but only from the men, who it turns out, had kept their hands up. Because this young woman had already lowered her hand, she missed out on an important opportunity to not only voice her question but to be heard. The lesson learned: raise your hand and when you do, keep it up. 

Women are taught to follow the rules. Some of you may disagree with me on this but I think women are more likely than men to follow the rules. Why? Because it’s been ingrained in us. Most of us grew up with our parents and other adults telling us things like, “Children should be seen and not heard.” Or, my mom’s favorite, “If you haven’t got something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” But one mom I knew well, always told her kids to, “zip it,” when they were saying something she didn’t like. While well-intentioned, these sayings may have backfired for us women. I remember my brothers blatantly flouting these rules while I respectfully stayed silent. I guess the threat of punishment was enough for me. Unfortunately, that kind of training is hard to shake. Trust me, I know. But if we want to be heard sometimes we may have to change or break the rules that we’ve been taught. Think I’m wrong? Then ask yourself how many times you’ve worked hard and done good work only to be passed over for a raise or promotion. You played by the rules, didn’t you? 

Women cave into bullies. There’s been a lot of talk about bullies lately. Nobody likes confrontation or conflict at work, at least nobody I know, and therein is the problem. Our options when approaching conflict include fight, yield or avoid. When confronted by a bully, in most cases, women will seek to sidestep a fight or avoid confrontation because that may feel more comfortable to them in the short term. (Remember, we’ve been taught to “turn the other cheek.”) However, yielding may actually be more detrimental over the long term. When you continually give in or allow someone else to have their way, eventually you may give up and stop caring. When this happens, you’ve effectively been silenced. While I’m not advocating fighting, I do advocate making your needs known and having your voice heard. Sometimes that means stepping out of your comfort zone.

According to Gregorio Billikopf with the University of California, when disagreements emerge it’s easy to ‘hear without listening.’ I’ll do my part and listen to others so that they feel heard but I expect the same courtesy in return. I also refuse to let anyone silence me, and I hope you will refuse to let them silence you too. After all, I don’t think it’s too much to ask to be heard.

Regina Barr is a nationally recognized authority on women and leadership. Her mission is to educate and empower women to stand tall and take charge of their careers by inspiring them to dream big, take action and make it happen. Regina is an executive coach, professional speaker, trainer, writer and media commentator with master’s degrees in business administration and human development. For more information, call 651-453-1007 or visit www.redladder.com, www.theWATTnetwork.com.

Copyright 2011 Regina Barr. All rights reserved.


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About Red Ladder

Red Ladder, Inc. provides services for individuals and organizations with a goal of developing people and inspiring success. Regina Barr, Red Ladder’s CEO, holds a BBA, an MBA and an MA in human development. With over twenty years in the financial services industry, she has a broad range of leadership experience in product, sales, and marketing.

in this issue ...
  • Note from Regina
  • Three Reasons Why Women Don't Get Heard at Work!   
  • Speaking Schedule
  • Resources
  • What's New
  • About Red Ladder

THE WatT® Network

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Join the Women at the Top® Network and receive:

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What's New ...

02/18/2011 Is this woman's "first" something to celebrate? Read Regina's recent blog post to find out

02/16/2011 The 2011 Women at the Top® Study was mentioned in the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Directorship blog. (Read More)

02/09/2011 The 2011 Women at the Top® Study was mentioned in The Glass Hammer blog. (Read More)

Here are upcoming programs featuring or hosted by Regina Barr ...

February 28 – March 4, 2011 (12 Noon CST) Women at the Top® Leadership Conference Re-Energize Your Career!, Teleseminar. FREE to attend. Registration required. (Register Now)

April 28th (12 noon CST) Author Interview with Carol Frohlinger. This 45 minute call will feature an interview with Carol Frohlinger, co-author of Nice Girls Just Don't Get It: 99 Ways to Win the Respect You Deserve, The Success You've Earned and the Life You Want. FREE to attend. Registration required. (Register Now) 

For complete details and information on how to register for our public programs, visit our Schedule of Events. Preview a list of Regina’s five most requested programs.

Interested in having Regina speak or present a seminar or workshop at your next event? Contact us at: 651-453-1007 or .


Resources ...  

Amplify Your Success eBook and Audios: Regina Barr presents Amplify Your Success: 25 Powerful Leaders Help Accelerate Your Career! Inspirational speakers cover five key topics including interpersonal skills, self-management, personal accountability, influencing others and goal achievement in this eBook and Audio program. Learn more or order your copy now. 

Testimonial: Regina, your presentation was absolutely phenomenal and completely exceeded my expectations. You have a talent for connecting with people and bringing a room full of 50+ women together. Thank you again for such a memorable event.”

Susan M. Elling, Business Analyst, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Copyright 2011 Regina Barr, Red Ladder, Inc. 
Women at the Top and WATT are registered trademarks of Red Ladder, Inc. 
All rights reserved.

 www.redladder.com| | 651-453-1007 | Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076