Did you know that both men and women penalize women for negotiating aggressively?

So you are planning on negotiating with your boss for a salary increase. You have been with your current organization for over 6 years, you have a proven track record of bringing in sales and clients love your work. You did a little digging and are surprised to find out that you are being underpaid by industry standards. So you believe you have leverage and it is your right to ask for what you want. Bravo! I admire your courage for going after what it is you know you are entitled to. But before you do so, I want to share some important golden nuggets from the field on how to ask for what you want.

It turns out that when a woman expresses herself in forceful terms, such as “I did my homework, I am underpaid, I bring in business, clients love me and I know I am worth it”, we violate gender norms and others expectations of how we are to behave. Interestingly enough, it is not only men that penalize women for such behavior, but women will in fact punish other women too. Men, however, will tolerate aggressive behavior from a man, but not from a woman.

When women opt for a more aggressive negotiation strategy they often fail to get what it is that they want. So researchers advocate that we embody the spirit of being relentlessly pleasant. You may be asking yourself, what on earth does it mean to be relentlessly pleasant? Relentlessly pleasant means you are mindful of the words you use, you avoid speaking in a threatening tone and you behave in a friendly manner.

I know what you are thinking – this isn’t fair. And you are right – it’s far from fair. So get to work ladies asking for what you want in a relentlessly pleasant fashion so that more of us can assume managerial and leadership roles.

As Babcock and Laschver explain, once you get there, use your influence to change the organizations your work for, the professions you belong to, and communities you live in so that women can start asking for what it is that they want in a direct manner.

In the meantime, you may want to go easier on the other women who may take a more direct approach to expressing their wants!

To your success!

Dr. Gill

Dr. Gill is the founder of life skills toolbox a corporate training company dedicated to teaching employees professional business skills.