“I’ve been there: at Citi, I was literally told to ‘sit down and shut up’ when I was fighting to reimburse client funds for losses on high-risk products – that we had mistakenly sold as low-risk – in the downturn of 2008,” Krawcheck writes in a post published on LinkedIn today. “I was literally told those words: ‘Sit down and shut up.'”
It’s a quandary that Krawcheck says she is often asked to address: How can women raise their voices loud enough to have their contributions to predominantly male professional environments acknowledged without being deemed hysterical?
“In almost every women’s group I speak to, the questions of ‘How can I be heard at work?’ or ‘How did you manage to be heard in a male environment?’ are asked,” she writes. “Being heard is, after all, a key precondition for being recognized at work, for getting that raise, for moving ahead, for getting promoted.”
Krawcheck says that to overcome this dynamic in her own career, she focused on being “the one with the numbers,” inferring that if leadership grew accustomed to hearing her deliver data in meetings, they’d be more open to eventually hearing her opinions as well. And when she was interrupted, she’d use humor to reorient the dialogue.
But she admits this strategy was less than 100 percent effective, and was largely dependent on a supportive boss.