WIB-Greater Boston: Leadership Ready Program Seminar, “Solving for X in the Y Domain: Strategies for Women to Thrive Within Male-Dominated Fields” by Gae Walters, PhD. May 3, 2018 at McDermott Will and Emery, LLP
On May 3rd, 2018, Gae Walters, PhD., shared insights and inspiration from her research, a literature review of how women have employed buffering behaviors* to achieve senior leadership positions in male-dominated fields.
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Gae is an organizational psychologist, author and executive coach. She framed her talk as all the things that she wished she had known at the start of her career. Gae enthusiastically expressed her wishes for the next generation to have an easier professional path than she did and that this generation will push forward for female achievement in traditionally male-dominated fields.
She explained that there is extensive literature on reasons why women do not attain leadership positions, but that less is known about why some women do reach the top. Buffering behaviors have effectively helped many women successfully achieve senior leadership positions in traditionally male-dominated professions, and include:
• Self-monitoring – IQ gets you hired, EQ gets you promoted.
• Impression Management – is a mechanism for overcoming inaccurate stereotypes (Leary & Kowalski, 1990). “In less than four minutes, people make judgements about your credibility, knowledge and expertise…just by looking at you” – L. Zunin Contact the First 4 minutes.
• Political Skill – this is actually a gendered advantage area for many women in STEM over their male counterparts.
• Performance – You can’t be equal to, you must be better than - over prepare, over achieve, over deliver.
Gae’s presentation was heavy on data as well as on quotes: “Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did ...but she did it backwards and in high heels.” It was wonderful to be her audience. All the women in the room felt the sincerity and power of her words. We hope that our generation can fulfill her wishes for us.
Gae’s linkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gae-walters-phd-0623656/
Gae’s book summarizing this research: https://www.amazon.com/Solving-Domain-Strategies-Overcoming-Leadership/dp/1480852708
*Buffering behaviors are defined as the self-monitoring skills and strategies that utilize knowledge of political behavior, impression management, and performance to overcome the gender bias and backlash women often experience when behaving in counter stereotypical ways.