How Women Sabotage Themselves at Work

Bonnie Low-Kramen


1.    Not being honest and straight-forward – Fear holds too many women back from speaking up when they know they should, but they still don’t. Women are intuitive, have great instincts, and happen to be excellent leaders when they are direct, clear, and factual in their communication.

2.    Engaging in gossips and secrets. Can you say “mean girls in junior high school”? If you are ever tempted to send a nastygram email, think about how you would feel if it was printed on the front page of the New York Times tomorrow. If you wouldn’t say it, don’t send it. The bottom line is: Secrets never stay secret.  #DontDoIt

3.    Making Wrong Assumptions. Don’t assume that you are “friends” with your manager or that “everyone” knows the great job that you do. When in doubt, ask. Still in doubt? Ask again.

4.    Inappropriate wardrobe. Dress for the job you want, and for the way you want to be perceived. Every workplace is different but nightclub attire is usually a set-up for sore feet (at the very least) and could also bring you undesired attention from both women and men. Ask yourself if you want to be known more for how you look than for what you say and do?

5.  Inappropriate language. Again, every office is different, but using profanity and racial slurs creates a disrespectful environment that does not promote stellar work. Want to be taken seriously? Use the words “colleagues” instead of “girls and “executive” or “manager” instead of “boss.” Choose respect. It wins every time.


Speak Up! Pledge for Assistants

I, _________________, pledge to speak up in my workplace in order to build more productive, positive, and respectful communication between me, my manager, and my colleagues. Finding my voice and speaking my mind in a professional and responsible manner is important because:

1. I will be a more self-confident and empowered person.

2. I will be a more productive and proactive business partner to my manager(s).

3. I will be improving our workplace through more open communication.


Speak Up! Pledge for 


I, ________________, pledge to actively encourage and support my assistant to speak up in order to build more productive, positive, and respectful communication in our workplace. Committing to an ongoing dialogue that actively seeks and rewards feedback is important because:

1.      Open communication motivates the highest engagement, the most effective teams, and the most profitable companies.

2.      I support my assistant to thrive, learn, and grow as a leader.

3.      Issues can only be resolved through open and honest conversations.