hat’s because, in Carlos’s view, their devotion to their teams can cause highly accomplished women to neglect building the networks with senior leaders and external partners they need to advance. “So while their male colleagues are building relationships that will help them in the future, the women are spending all their waking hours managing their teams. They appear to enjoy it, and it certainly pays off in terms of their team’s performance, but it does not get the women where they want to go.
Not only are these women failing to build the relationships that could position them for the future, they’re actively honing and advertising a skill that identifies them as suited for a less than senior level. As Carlos points out, “Managing a team superbly ultimately proves you have great skills as a manager. But building strong outside networks is a promotional skill aimed at getting recognition for the larger organization. So while women are honing their management skills and sending the message that they’re wonderful managers, their male colleagues are busy building promotional skills and sending the message that they’re terrific promoters. Self-interest doesn’t seem to be a problem for many of the men we work with. Men usually like the idea of winning, so they’re comfortable putting their interests and those of their family first. Some women do this, but others seem to think that pursuing their self-interest will make them a bad person.
Heidi is an analyst for a global financial corporation. She’s seen as brilliant, but her career had stalled when Marshall was brought in as her coach. In their first meeting, he asked what she thought might be her problem.
Marshall’s words startled Heidi. But over the next few months, she began to view her desire to demonstrate loyalty to her institution and disdain for her own self-interest in a different light. Maybe her self-righteous insistence that she didn’t want to “play the game” was in fact a clever way of keeping herself stuck.