Leaning In

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg

The May Quarterly Networking Event at Stevenson Ridge found us viewing Sheryl’s Sandberg’s TED Talk on Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders. If you haven’t seen it yet, I’d encourage you to take 15 minutes to view it. THEN I recommend that you purchase Sheryl’s book, Lean In, and read it. While I liked the talk and book because of their contents, I’m not sure any ideas presented were new, but the ideas were supported by lots of research that, for this academic, gave proof!

For example, I had never really thought about the differences between men and women when offered a job. Let’s say a woman is offered a job with a $100,000 salary and standard benefits. Her response, at least internally, is “this is how much I am worth.” She’s content to be compensated for what she’s worth, so she takes the job without considering that she might be worth a wee bit more. She doesn’t even consider asking for additional benefits. Remember, the company offered her what she’s worth!

Conversely, when a man is offered the same position with the same salary and benefits, he thinks, “OK, this is the beginning.” He counters with a higher salary and perhaps asks for additional benefits. It’s almost like a negotiating GAME to the man who, in many instances, ends up with higher salary than the woman AND with better benefits… BECAUSE HE ASKED! And you can bet the hiring manager will not return to the woman and increase her salary and benefits to match the man’s. So the salary gap widens.

Have you seen this? I certainly have seen women take the first offer. Not me! As a former sales professor, I’m all about negotiating and I encourage everyone to negotiate anything you can (especially buying a car, but I digress!). Put your MAN HAT on and negotiate your next salary. YOU CAN DO IT—and you’ll be LEANING IN.

Lynne Richardson

Lynne Richardson

Lynne Richardson is dean of the UMW College of Business and chair of the Leadership Colloquium @UMW advisory board. Check her out on twitter @UMWcobdean.

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