This week, the Online Book Club will be discussing Chapter 6 of Deborah Tannen’s book, Talking from 9 to 5, “She’s the Boss: Women and Authority.”
Women in managerial positions are faced with the distinct challenge of balancing authority and assertiveness with femininity. Tannen observes that these positions are typically held by men, thus authority is associated with men. However, women are often cautious of exerting their authority to prevent being seen as abrasive. This is valid—many of the women in managerial positions who are direct, assertive, and even aggressive are not well liked. Meanwhile, these character qualities do not influence whether a man is liked or not. In observing the most successful females in authority, Tannen evaluates that women promote a “person-oriented” environment.