Many argue that you have a strategic advantage available to you, ladies, at work. The flirt. And, apparently, stillettos. Great news, right? Another tool in the ol’ career toolbox. Certain to get more females up into the c-suite and the most talented ones at that.
I have a list of why this article annoys me.
- One is that it plays to the expectation that becoming Career Barbie is a key element of success at work. While I cannot argue that it is not a key element presently, I can argue that it should not be. Talent and results that are not obtained by using Sherman’s March to the Sea techniques should rule the day. Period.
- What the article does not touch on enough is that other women (and maybe even men) who see this will discount you as someone who slept your way to the top. If they see heavy flirtation, they will assume an iceberg effect and figure that if they are seeing a little, there’s so much more beneath the surface which yields a clear picture of you touching more than hands. This impacts your reputation but also the flirtee’s rep.
- It teaches men to expect flirtation from other women at work who want to get ahead.
- Flirting with that guy is likely to get around the other guys at work in and in his network. Like women, men often (shockingly) talk to one other and it’s unlikely he failed to notice your flirtation or, if it worked, appreciate it.
- This behavior might end up following you forever given how connected people are today. Leverage that wink and some pretty power to get a job at X company and you could end up known as the girl who slept their way to the top forever. Flirting with men might have immediate gain, but other women won’t have a great deal of respect for you in doing it. Think about the woman who cried at a meeting ten years ago or something on that order you’ve seen- have you forgotten? Yeah… people won’t forget, and often will resent, your behavior for years to come as well.
- Oh, and the man could interpret your flirting as, well, flirting and continue to pursue a relationship or have expectation of favors after you’ve gotten your end game completed and are busy settling into your new role and its myriad perks. While normally I would say that they have no reason to pursue anything with you at work, in the case of flirting your way to the top, you have initiated the inappropriate relationship and he’s playing the role you gave to him. Maybe there’s a little quid pro quo expectation? After all, he’s scratched your back, might he expect more literal scratching of his?
All in all, it’s a bad idea. You should always be positive at work no matter if you’re male or female. You should play nice with everyone at your company. As an HR expert, I can assure you those two tactics are proven good advice. Truthfully, being nice may sometimes be interpreted as flirting but to seek out that kind of interaction is playing with career-persistent fire.
Anybody else have thoughts around the article?