Enough Of The Good Ole Boys Already

In survey feedback from our Women of HR readers, one of the leading topics of interest was the “good ole boys.”  This is a fascinating topic to me.

I am raising a son and my sister is raising a daughter. They are 14 years old, one week apart in age and living proof of differences among genders. There is scientific proof as well. Why don’t we talk about gender differences in behavior, styles, communication, etc.?

Why don’t we speak about our common ground? Does it have more to do with fear than reality? Is it about comfort zones?

The reality is, a comfort zone is a comfort zone for men  – and women – and there are many things we can do to create comfort zones.

What am I speaking of?

I am speaking of networking, communicating, and being clear about your goals.

Networking

Since the “good ole boys” have been gathering long before my time, were here, and still are here in much larger numbers in the C-suite than women, the ownership is on us to network and leverage our outstanding communication skills to help each other.

If you want to know where the “good ole girls” are, you really should not have to look too far in your own area for a network. If you do, then do what we did in Atlanta and start a network locally. We meet for dinner once a month and have a speaker. We share responsibilities to plan, coordinate, and drive executive membership. Our group has members from all industries in positions ranging from Director to C-level  in finance, IT, HR, sales, general management and operations.

There are also external organizations that you may join. Women in Technology (WIT) and Board of Directors Network (BDN) are two in my home town that are exceptional women-led organizations. WIT promotes and supports the upward mobility of executive women in technology and BDN does the same for all executive women.

Once you network and find a path on the outside, bring what you learn back inside your organization and share it with your boss and peers. Invite them to share the experiences. This does not have to be solely discussed with women inside your firm. Any manager would benefit from understanding the dynamic of these organizations,and how to develop and foster these dialogues internally as the war to attract and retain talent is on – and it always will be.

Communicating

Men and women do not always think the same.

If something is on your mind, you must communicate. Do not assume that if you work hard and do a great job you will get the dream job solely for that reason. Inside the “good ole boys” network they are speaking a language which may be foreign to women. Keep in mind that the “good ole boys”  do not always even know that they are excluding women, they may assume the discussion is uninteresting to us or they are simply unaware.

Being Clear About Your Goals

Seek out trusted people inside your company of all cultures and both genders and be clear about your goals. I am assuming your goals are written down and top of mind?

One thing for sure, the “good ole boys”  goals’ are.

Getting In the Zone

So, enough about the “good ole boys.”

Network, communicate, be clear about your goals and go out and create some comfort zones of your own.

Debbie is our Featured Contributor on LinkedIn. Come over to meet her and ask a few questions of your own.

About the Author

Debbie Brown

Debbie Brown is a Senior Sales Executive in Analytics, Software and Services . The majority of her career has been spent managing people and teams in software and services provided to the HR industry. Debbie enjoys sharing leadership best practices and as an avid reader is always happy to share great book recommendations. You can connect with Debbie on Twitter as @DebbieJBrown.

2 Comments

Debbie Brown

Thanks Laurie- interesting and true- last night we had a gentleman speak to our group- he is an executive recruiter who mentioned that he interviews both and finds that women have a very difficult time communicating their experience and accomplishments, and men do not struggle with this at all. He told us that he finds that he has to probe and drag the information out and was shedding light on it. He mentioned similar themes regarding income negotiations.
I think that is interesting too. Likely we are rule followers, and has a lot to do with how we were raised along the way-

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laurie

I was raised in the shadows of third-wave feminism where I was told, “There are no tangible differences between girls and boys. The biggest differences are cultural.”

I’m not so sure that’s true—but there are huge cultural messages when it comes to networking, communicating, and negotiating.

Whether it’s nature or nurture, women can do a better job of showing other women how to be their own best advocates.

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