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The Daily Helping


May 27, 2019

Today our expert guests are Andie Kramer and Al Harris. They have been mentoring women in speaking and writing about gender communication for more than 30 years, are frequent keynote speakers, conduct workshops for multinational organizations to better understand the world of gender bias, and are authors of the book Breaking Through Bias: Communication Techniques for Women to Succeed at Work. They also have an upcoming book titled It’s Not You, It’s the Workplace: Women’s Conflict at Work and the Bias That Built It.

 

When Andie got out of law school, she didn’t imagine that women could be perceived or treated differently in the workplace. It wasn’t until she left Al’s smaller law firm and went to work for a larger firm that she found that stereotypes and biases influence the ways in which people interact with you, treat you, and judge your skillset.

 

Al was convinced that he was a good person who didn’t suffer from bias himself, and that his own firm would be fair to everyone. When Andie left, he looked around and realized that we weren’t doing any better getting senior women into their leaderships than anyone else. That’s when he realized that people can believe they are bias free, and yet still find unconscious ways to hold women back.

 

During the time that Andie had left Al’s law firm, the two continued to have conversations surrounding these issues, and they committed themselves to work together and do everything they can to end gender bias.

 

We like to work with people that are like us, so when men are running organizations, they often reach out to and bring up other men because those are who they are comfortable with. So we see a pattern of men mentoring, supporting, and advocating for other men, and the women being ignored.

 

So how do we tackle biases upfront? Here are some possible solutions:

 

  • We need to provide education – because information is power! If people understand how biases work and how it’s not intention or pointing fingers, that’s step one.
  • Policies and procedures need to be implemented that take discretion out of the process of evaluating other people. Standards, objectives, and job descriptions are a good starting point.
  • Find ways to slow down when making decisions: When evaluating things, don’t use open-ended questions and, instead, set out core competencies that you’d expect a person at this level to accomplish. Don’t let people make these decisions in a vacuum by themselves, and have people explain their decision process to others before making up their mind.

 

The Biggest Helping: Today’s Most Important Takeaway

 

Andie: “Perfection is overrated. If we strive for perfection instead of as good as we can get, then we will never give ourselves the opportunity to succeed.”

 

Al: “We need to be better readers of other people. We need to understand how to understand what other people are thinking about us, and to adjust our behavior, our communication, so that we can better shape that impression so that it matches the one we want them to have of us.”

 

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Thank you for joining us on The Daily Helping with Dr. Shuster. Subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Google Play to download more food for the brain, knowledge from the experts, and tools to win at life.

 

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The Daily Helping is produced by Crate Media