What Works for Women at Work: Answers to Common Questions- Getting Your Accomplishments Recognized?

What Works for Women at Work: Answers to Common Questions- Getting Your Accomplishments Recognized?

What Works for Women at Work: Answers to Common Questions- Getting Your Accomplishments Recognized?

Accomplishments

None of my supervisors seem to pay attention to—or at least remember—my accomplishments. My male coworkers don’t seem to have this problem. But when I try to remind my colleagues, I just see all these “who do you think you are?” faces staring back at me. What can I do to get recognition without looking like a jerk?

Oh my! You’ve come head to head with Prove-It-Again! bias only to find the Tightrope nipping at your heels.

The key principle underlying Prove-It-Again! bias is that humans react to information that supports preexisting stereotypes and information that doesn’t differently.  Our implicit biases about men’s and women’s competence in the workplace and ultimately, their roles in society, dictate what information we retain and what we don’t.

As a result, men’s successes tend to be noticed and remembered, while women’s are more likely to be overlooked and soon forgotten. This happens because when people’s behavior conforms to our expectations, we tend to attribute it to a stable, internal trait that reflects a truth about who they really are, whereas we attribute behavior that violates our expectations to a fleeting external cause, like luck. Likewise, we are likely to ignore or quickly forget information that disconfirms our preexisting stereotypes, so information about men’s competence has more staying power than equivalent information about women’s competence.

By trying to set the record straight, you’ve triggered the Tightrope bias; by acting in a way that commands respect, you’re now being perceived as a social misfit.

Here’s how two savvy professional women counteracted Prove-It-Again! bias without triggering the Tightrope:

  • “Your accomplishment does not exist if it is not documented. For example… I had a lunch today, we talked about XYZ and this is the outcome, this is the action point. So I document it. Or I have some clients that are going to come into town and so I called the assistant to see if we could set up a meeting when they’re in town next week.  That gets documented.”
  • “When I went and talked to my division head, I would come with two big achievements and one request for help. You engage them in this activity of building a business, which is obviously good for you, but it’s also good for them. ‘This is how I looked at the problem.  This is how I am trying to fix the problem.  These are the results that are coming out of it. What else should I be doing?’”

By keeping their accomplishments fresh, these women didn’t have to rely on their colleagues’ fickle recollections. They also weren’t put in the uncomfortable situation of seeming like a jerk when jogging their colleagues’ memories. Say goodbye to proving it again!

Have a question of your own? Then Ask the New Girls!


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