The transactional, tactical, strategic, and intentional aspects of leverage can be a stumbling block for women. The high value women place on relationships often makes them more eager to seek out personal friendships that offer intrinsic rewards than to cultivate connections and collect chits for future use. Women who balk at using leverage often view disinterested relationships as purer, proof that you’re a trustworthy and honorable person. Horse-trading may imply you have an agenda and are out for yourself. In other words, engaging leverage is a subtle way of suggesting that you’re going places. That you’re a player whose help can be of value down the road. Refusing to engage in this way on the grounds that you don’t want to “use” the other person suggests that you don’t see yourself as having this kind of power. And that you can’t imagine the other person would perceive an advantage in having a relationship with you. few of the senior people I knew so he could connect with them about some of our products. I was uncomfortable with this for several reasons. I consider these people personal friends and don’t want them to feel hustled. He’s a real hotshot in sales and known to be pretty aggressive. Also, Kevin never showed a shred of interest in me until he found out I’d worked at that hospital. He doesn’t seem to care about me as a person, so why should I set him up . Amanda didn’t want to come right out and say no, so she tried to avoid Kevin. “I was hoping he’d get the message I wasn’t interested, but he continued to call and press me. Really, the way he kept at it was pretty shameless. Her friends at the hospital, she could have asked them if they minded her providing the introduction. Or she could have told them to use their own judgment about whether to respond when Kevin called. And since she knows her company’s products are superior, the connection could have been to her old friends’ advantage. The only thing Amanda was really protecting was her own belief that asserting leverage on behalf of self-interest was an unsavory and self-interested practice.

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