• Sarah E. Brown

Why Are Women Afraid to Speak Up with Liz Kislik


Continuing our discussion on women speaking out, listen to what Liz Kislik has to say about this.


Liz Kislik is Harvard Business Review and Forbes contributor and TEDx speaker. She offers surprising insights and successful techniques for leadership, mastering collaboration, conflict, talent development, and customer loyalty. Her combination of practical experience, true stories, and current research will inspire listeners to start making a difference right away.


In this episode, Liz dives deeper and talks about what are some of the most common reasons why women are afraid to speak up generally or in a meeting. She also shares how to overcome these fears and doubts and speak up with confidence and passion anywhere at any time.



What you will learn from this episode:

  • Discover how keeping quiet won’t help avoid problems nor keep you or your people safe

  • Understand what makes women scared of speaking up and how to overcome those fears

  • Learn more on why it’s better to be loud and proud than quiet



I think there's this assumption that quieter is better for authorities. And when we're raised that way, or believe that, when that's the lived experience, it can be very, very challenging to break out of it, and it takes a lot of deep self-work.
- Liz Kislik


Valuable Free Resource:



Topics Covered:


01:32 - Challenge is a suppressed fear of speaking up and a lack of practice with how to speak up


02:43 - Believing that keeping your head down and being quiet will keep you safe and away from problems: the common mistake business women leaders make when trying to speak up in a meeting or generally


03:24 - One free and actionable tip you can do to address your fear and speak with confidence and passion: To treat either the fear of speaking up or the situation you're facing like any other business problem. Who are the stakeholders? What are the advantages to be gained? What are the potential risks? And then go into the discussion, thinking about everybody involved as if they were your best customer?


04:14 - One valuable free resource to help you deal with the interpersonal aspects of the conflict: https://lizkislik.com/resolve-conflict/


04:38 - Q: Why are women afraid of speaking up? What gets in their way? What shuts them down? And how can we deal with that? A: And I think a lot of it goes back, actually, at least in the US, to the school system and to the family when we are young. And the idea of being a good girl who is attentive, who answers when asked, and who doesn't necessarily leap out of her chair or act out a little bit the way boys are often allowed to.



Key Takeaways:


“I think the challenge is a suppressed fear of speaking up and a lack of practice with how to speak up so that they feel they won't suffer for it afterward.” - Liz Kislik


“Projects and initiatives don't move ahead as quickly as they could because women are afraid to raise crucial issues for fear of ruffling feathers.” - Liz Kislik


“And deciding that it is okay to live in this kind of haze of discomfort, as opposed to actually dealing with what's going on and trying to get those problems handled.” - Liz Kislik


“To treat either the fear of speaking up or the situation you're facing like any other business problem. Who are the stakeholders? What are the advantages to be gained? What are the potential risks?” - Liz Kislik


“When you're looking in that way at how can you serve everyone's interests, often you can find a path through the situation that actually takes care of people and sometimes uncovers the roots of the problem that you really need to address.” - Liz Kislik



Ways to Connect with Liz Kislik



Ways to Connect with Sarah E. Brown



Full Episode Transcript:


Liz Kislik 0:00

Quieter is better for authorities. And when we're raised that way, or believe that, when that's the lived experience, it can be very, very challenging to break out of it. And it takes a lot of deep self-work.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 0:23

Hello, everyone. Welcome to the KTS Success Factor Podcast for Women where we talk about challenges senior female leaders face in being happy and successful at work. I'm your host, Dr. Sarah E. Brown.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 0:42

My guest today is Liz Kislik. She is a Harvard Business Review and a Forbes contributor, and also a TEDx speaker. She offers surprising insights and techniques for leadership, mastering collaboration, conflict, talent development, and customer loyalty. She is known for her practical experience, true stories, and current research which all get people to start making a difference right away. Liz, thank you for joining me today.


Liz Kislik 1:19

Sarah, thank you. And thank you for that very lovely introduction.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 1:23

So, what is the biggest challenge you help female leaders face in business today? And what might be the symptoms of that challenge?


Liz Kislik 1:32

I think the challenge is a suppressed fear of speaking up and a lack of practice with how to speak up so that they feel they won't suffer for it afterward.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 1:49

And how might we see that? What would be the symptoms of that?


Liz Kislik 1:52

Okay, so you see, meetings before meetings and after meetings, as opposed to just whatever the scheduled discussion is, itself, a lot of what I would call "group-to-solo behavior". So, there's clustering in groups for reassurance. But then, in a meeting itself, or in a crucial presentation, women often feel very alone, that they're not backed up by the group. And the other thing that you see much too frequently, is that projects and initiatives don't move ahead as quickly as they could because women are afraid to raise crucial issues for fear of ruffling feathers.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 2:38

I get it! And what are the biggest mistakes your clients make before working with you?


Liz Kislik 2:43

I think it's an interesting way to look at it. I think one of the misapprehensions that they have is that you can keep yourself or your people safe by keeping your head down and avoiding problems or by absorbing problems on behalf of your folks. And deciding that it is okay to live in this kind of haze of discomfort, as opposed to actually dealing with what's going on and trying to get those problems handled.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 3:17

And what would be the number one free and actionable tip you can give our audience today to address this challenge now?


Liz Kislik 3:24

To treat either the fear of speaking up or the situation you're facing like any other business problem. Who are the stakeholders? What are the advantages to be gained? What are the potential risks? And then go into the discussion, thinking about everybody involved as if they were your best customer? What would you want to do for them? How would you want to help them? And when you're looking in that way at how can you serve everyone's interests, often you can find a path through the situation that actually takes care of people and sometimes uncovers the roots of the problem that you really need to address.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 4:06

I see, and what's a valuable free resource you can share with the women listening today to help them understand this challenge better.


Liz Kislik 4:14

I have a free eBook on my website, Sarah, that helps people deal with the interpersonal aspects of the conflict.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 4:23

And that's Lizkislik.com-


Liz Kislik 4:26

Exactly.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 4:26

Which will be in the show notes as well. So, Liz, what's one question that I should have asked you that will help our audience take action to address this challenge? And then would you please answer the question?


Liz Kislik 4:38

I would say the question is, why are women afraid of speaking up? What gets in their way? What shuts them down? And how can we deal with that? And I think a lot of it goes back, actually, at least in the US, to the school system and to the family when we are young. And the idea of being a good girl who is attentive, who answers when asked, and who doesn't necessarily leap out of her chair or act out a little bit the way boys are often allowed to. And I think there's this assumption that quieter is better for authorities. And when we're raised that way, or believe that, when that's the lived experience, it can be very, very challenging to break out of it, and it takes a lot of deep self-work.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 5:32

Wow! That's a lot to think about. Liz, thank you so much for being with us today.


Liz Kislik 5:38

Glad to do it.


Dr. Sarah E. Brown 5:39

Thanks for listening to the KTS Success Factor Podcast for Women. If you like what you're hearing, please go to iTunes to subscribe, rate us, and leave a review. And if you would like more information on how we can help women in your organization to thrive, then go to www.sarahebrown.com. You can sign up for our newsletter, read show notes and learn more about our podcast guests, read my blog, browse through the books or contact us for a chat. Goodbye for now!

 

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