Negotiating Your Worth: Gender Differences in Negotiation with Wies Bratby
Women in the business world face unique challenges, especially when it comes to negotiating their worth. From unequal pay to lack of representation in leadership positions, women often struggle to reach their full potential within the workplace. This is why understanding the gender differences in negotiation propensity, execution and results is so important for women regardless of their careers.
It's been quite some time since we’ve discussed gender differences in negotiating. In fact, we have to go back to Episode 31 with Cindy Watson for the last time we discussed this important topic. So, I’m beyond honored to be discussing this topic now with one of the most influential women in business today.
Wies Bratby is the Chief Enthusiasm Officer of Women In Negotiation, where she helps professional women learn how to negotiate for what they want, need, and deserve in their careers. Since July 2017, hundreds of professional women have increased their salaries by an average of over 49%, transforming their careers through her online group coaching program.
WWOWD: WHAT WOULD OTHER WOMEN DO?
An anecdote Wies shares is that of a “shady” real estate case her law firm was handling when she was 25 years old. She took many issues with and didn’t understand most of the things happening in those meetings, and her seniors would just explain it as “this is just how it works”. To that, she played up her inexperience, her age, and even her gender to a degree in that she would often question every step, asking the veterans to explain to her in simpler terms. This exaggeration of her lack of experience paired with gendered stereotypes proved beneficial to Wies throughout her career.
That tenacity and forwardness, however, is something Wies admits she doesn’t think other women would do in her position. While she’s certainly not encouraging women to go to these lengths in their negotiations, she is encouraging them to lead into their negotiations with the understanding there will be biases set against them, and to overcome those biases with confidence in what they’re good at, and tenacity to push for what they deserve.
EGO, NEGOTIATIONS, AND VALUE OF SELF
A topic I discuss frequently on the DealQuest Podcast and blog is not leading with ego. Ego is one of the largest pitfalls in business, in my opinion. I won’t purport that I did any type of scientific study, but I will say I do see this triggering of ego in business much more frequently with men. Through all my deals in the last 35 years, I’ve seen that ego is the biggest obstacle for men, whereas for women it tends to be not owning and expressing their value enough.
A large part of this is due to marketing and social conditioning. The goal of many big advertising campaigns is to make you feel like you’re not good enough, and the only way you will be able to be good enough is to have what they’re selling. This is especially true for advertising directed toward women. Women are constantly being conditioned into thinking they're not good enough, but Wies wants them to know that this is untrue and that they should own and show their value, of which there is plenty.
The research proves it: Women tend to be better negotiators when negotiating on behalf of someone else, whereas men may have an advantage when negotiating for themselves.
This makes sense because women are raised from a young age to prioritize the needs of others over their own. This tendency is especially evident when women negotiate for themselves versus negotiating on behalf of someone else. It also explains why women tend to be more proficient than men in negotiations conducted on behalf of someone else.
Our discussion goes much more in-depth about these many psychological and societal practices, especially this life-long conditioning, and how it plays a vital role in the difference between men and women in business negotiations.
THE COST OF LOSING AN EMPLOYEE
There are many reasons a person quits a job. The general top reason is clear – They’re not being paid what they feel is what they deserve. Other reasons include:
- Not feeling valued within the team
- Not feeling heard by superiors
- Feelings of replaceability
- Feelings of expectations or role responsibilities being far too demanding
For women, their reasoning for leaving a job usually isn’t about pay. Statistics show that women leave their jobs more often due to having to work 2 - 3x times as hard as their male counterpart does.
Regardless of the reason, losing an employee is costly to a company, and this isn’t what’s discussed often. Research shows it costs a company between 100% and 400% of the employee's annual salary to replace them.
ALL WOMEN SHOULD NEGOTIATE THEIR WORTH
The discussion of gendered differences in negotiating doesn’t end with establishing that societal expectations play a role, that’s only the beginning. The next step is women need to be educated and supported in breaking through societal expectations and biases and taught they are as valuable as their male counterparts. This involves a deprogramming of thinking, in a sense, which is precisely what Wies aims to do for women.
Part of Wies’ 10-week online coaching program includes what she calls, “the unshakable self”. It’s a lot of hard work of digging into oneself to not only learn how to negotiate their worth in the terms of salary but also evaluate, as Wies says, “if I’m sitting in the right seat on the bus.”
This intensive program is designed to allow women to not only learn to speak to their value, confidently, but to also sharpen their negotiation skills, do the hard self-work, and become life-long homework that produces consistent success through confidence.
To learn more about this program, visit Women in Negotiation’s seminar page: https://womeninnegotiation.org/seminar/
For my full discussion with Wies Bratby, and more on the topic:
Listen to the Full DealQuest Podcast Episode Here
Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator, and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author, and professional speaker. He is deeply passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.
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