Ask SSS: Equally Confused

Dear Style,

 

How can women claim credit for “teamwork” – in response to the economic assertion in this article that successful teams credit men more than women:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/10/upshot/when-teamwork-doesnt-work-for-women.html?


Equally Confused

 

Dear Equally Confused,

I believe that there are parts of the country and/or business sectors where for the most part women are treated equally.  I always want to make sure we consider a couple of things when we talk about equality.  First, duration of experience should exclude any time off or medical leave (i.e. maternity/paternity leave, FMLA, etc…)

With that said, I definitely find a ceiling that is shifting but still exists in healthcare leadership for women, and I think it’s unintentional.  I really think the men don’t realize it.  In healthcare, there is a lot of golf.  I actually do play, but just like I would rather play with my friends and people I have more in common with but it the links are where real networking happens in healthcare.  The guys play together and then they become more friendly so when it’s time for promotion and Dick and Jane both worked on the same project, they are more likely to promote Dick … even if Dick didn’t pull his weight (because we aren’t in school and we don’t grade each other on participation).

The more concerning scenario that I also have found in healthcare is managers who take credit for their employees work.  We have a lot of hierarchy in healthcare systems and each physician practice has a manager that reports to a director or senior manager who then reports to a Chief something or other.  Oftentimes, the person between the practice manager and the Chief takes credit for the managers’ success, even though they really didn’t help. I am pretty sure this theme isn’t unique to healthcare.  The idea of bosses taking credit for success of their employees, but what I find is as women we are more apt to dole out credit when being praised than men … so it compounds the unintentional credit with the intentional deception of credit.

You have to find ways to log constructive feedback when team projects aren’t really team. I also think if you have the opportunity in an employee satisfaction survey to point out that when there seems to be an unintentional promotion of men over women, someone needs to hold the organization accountable and give the situation a hard second look.

Additionally, make sure you find polite ways to get credit. My favorite way (which is a little passive-aggressive) is to send the boss an e-mail and cc their boss thanking them for the opportunity to do a project or if you implemented some changes that had some great success send an e-mail letting them know how proud you are of your team and what you did to achieve that.  Creating a paper trail of your success helps develop that path to promotion or recognition.

Sincerely,

SSS

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