Diversity Woman Magazine

FALL 2013

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

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Point of View > Conversations with Catalyst Trust in the Workplace E stablishing trust in working relationships is key to professional advancement. However, as revealed in Catalyst's groundbreaking study, establishing trust in the workplace can be particularly challenging for women of color. Trust makes it easier to find solutions at work. ABOUT CATALYST Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonproft membership organization expanding opportunities for women and business. With offces in the United States, Canada, Europe, and India, and more than 600 members, Catalyst is the trusted resource for research and advice about women at work. 68 DI V ERSI TY WOMAN One of the primary barriers, espewomen. We also found that the more cially in workplaces characterized by comfortable women of color were Katherine with confding in their managers, the negative stereotyping and greater Giscombe scrutiny of so-called outsiders, is more likely they were to be satisfed feeling vulnerable when revealing with their career advancement and personal details. Women of color fear remain with their organizations. that those details might be used to undermine Catalyst encourages women of color to their professional image or credibility. Such share something personal but related to the concerns can lead to guardedness, as exempliworkplace—for example, their leadership fed by a story shared by one woman of color, role within a community organization— whose male colleague commented on the car even if, initially, it feels uncomfortable to trouble she was having: do so. Disclosure trust is a two-way street that grows and deepens over time. Te more He was like, "You're always having problems a woman of color discloses, the more her with your car." He said it as if it were a judgmanager will disclose—ultimately leading ment of me. So I said to myself, "Remember, to greater levels of comfort on both sides. you should never share your personal business." Not every manager is going to be open to forming a trust-based relationship Rather than connecting with her colwith a woman of color supervisee. In that leagues, this woman learned never to case, women of color still need to learn to drop her guard at work. While this reserve navigate the corporate culture. As one savvy protected her emotionally, it also likely insenior woman of color told us: terfered with her ability to develop positive professional relationships. I've had (people in my ofce) who have said, Our study specifcally examined relation"I ain't gonna do that. I'm good at what I do, ships between white male managers and but I am not going to sit down and have a cup women of color supervisees, with an emof cofee with them." And I say, "Create your phasis on the development of "disclosure" corporate space. Give them the image that trust within these pairs. Tis type of trust you want them to have." develops when supervisees communicate sensitive or personal information to a manWomen of color who are climbing the corager. It involves some risk on the part of the porate ladder aren't the only ones who would supervisee, including a willingness to admit be wise to heed these words. Managers, too, to shortcomings and share honest feelings. should be mindful of why opening up at Cultivating this kind of trust can make it work is more challenging for women of color. easier to fnd solutions to problems at work. After all, it takes two to form a relationIt can also increase individual efectiveness ship built on trust. DW and organizational productivity. Unfortunately, our study found that women of color Katherine Giscombe, PhD, is Catalyst's vice had signifcantly lower levels of trust in president and women of color practitioner, their white male managers than did white Global Member Services. Fa ll 2013 d i v e r s i ty w oma n.com

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