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Helping Female Employees Find Their Voice

Many workplace issues have come to the forefront following news reports about Harvey Weinstein and an increasing number of males in leadership roles.

LEAP wants its clients to consider the “rhetoric of silence” and how it manifests among women. This issue encompasses more than sexual assault or other illegal behaviors. It’s a culture that has been prevalent in businesses and organizations.

Research findings presented at ICF Converge 17, a global event organized by the International Coach Federation address “Coaching the Silenced Female Leader.” Carrie Arnold, PCC, PhD, shared findings from her work with women executives in the Denver area. The key insights:

  • Nearly half the women in the study have experienced silencing

  • 75-percent do not recover without making a job change or opting out of a leader role.

  • 85-percent experience physical manifestations from being silenced.

  • Both men and women share responsibility in the silencing of the female leaders

What about your business environment? Does the culture encourage women to speak with “purposeful voice”? If not, who or what is getting in the way?


Feeling silenced? Regardless of your gender, here are three things you can do to make sure you’re not silenced:

  1. Use power poses to harness your strength: watch Amy Cuddy's TED Talk

  2. for insight on how body language can affect the way others respond when you speak.

  3. Stand your ground—don’t shy away when someone tries to silence you If someone takes a swipe at you with a comment such as “That’s a great idea, but I don’t think it can ever work here,” don’t sit down. Stay standing and respond to the passive aggressive comment with this, “Thank you for your comment. Could you please help me by giving a few examples of what barriers would get in the way of this idea?”

  4. Acknowledge those who support and sponsor you: Despite the negative accounts in the press, there are many men and women who step up to empower female leaders. If there are people who have helped you, reach out and thank them; let them know how their sponsorship helped you.

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