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Must women be more assertive to succeed on the job?

By Rachel Emma Silverman
We’ve had some lively discussion the past few days about the experiences of women on Wall Street. Over at the WSJ career site FINS, there was an interesting piece about some advice that Citigroup provided to women who wanted to succeed in their careers. The laminated cards, distributed to some female employees, list some things women do to sabotage their careers. Women tend to:


Asked by tasches at 5:45 PM on Sep. 28, 2010 in Money & Work

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Answers (4)
  • I have a friend at work helping me with the handshake. LOL

    Answer by science_spot at 6:52 AM on Sep. 29, 2010

  • 1. Speak too softly and aren’t heard

    2. Groom in public, which “deemphasizes…capability.”

    3. Sit too demurely, rather than leaning forward at the table in meetings.

    4. Speak last in meetings. Early speakers are seen as more assertive and authoritative.

    5. Ask permission, while men inform.

    6. Apologize too much for every little thing.

    7. Smile too often, which can dilute a message.

    8. Play too fair.

    9. Operate behind the scenes, which enables competitors to take credit for one’s work.

    10. Offer a limp handshake.

    Comment by tasches (original poster) at 5:45 PM on Sep. 28, 2010

  • The information Citi used comes from the book “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers,” by Dr. Lois P. Frankel. FINS reporter Julie Steinberg interviewed Frankel, who said that the list was taken out of context. Without the accompanying explanations of how women have been socialized to be too nice, it’s easy to chalk up the list as just another way to force women to mimic men’s behavior, Frankel said. She told Steinberg that women shouldn’t try to act just like men and suppress their femininity, but that they should be more assertive. Her advice, therefore, emphasizes ways to be more recognized—necessary for getting a raise or promotion.

    Comment by tasches (original poster) at 5:45 PM on Sep. 28, 2010

  • dont confuse assertive with aggressive. the two are not the same a women often confuses aggressiveness for assertiveness to get ahead and get her point across and will soon just be labeled a bitch and will be worse off than the woman who is unsure of herself.

    Answer by jewjewbee at 8:03 AM on Sep. 29, 2010