The Last Word

I read somewhere that Tina Fey's decision making strategy is to make the final call and then physically remove herself from the room. If she stays, people in the meeting immediately question her decision. For some reason, they assume her decision isn't final and they begin to challenge and discuss it. She thought it was a common thing among women because she didn't see this happen to men.

I thought this was fascinating and didn't experience much of it until recently. The only difference is, when I left the room, they continued to talk about a solution after I made the decision. Leaving the room didn't work.

Being an adult, I cannot raise my voice or shut down the call or blast them all with Supersoakers so they discontinue the conversation. So what do I do? And why did they feel like they could do that in the first place? I made a decision about a department I oversee.

I would say that it's the responsibility of company leaders to enforce respect among peers and to ensure women's decisions are taken just as seriously as men's.  However, if Tina Fey couldn't demand that kind of respect in a show she produced, I'm thinking I need to examine other tactics.

Here is what I'm going to do:

1) Pull each person aside to talk about what happened and to tell them how it impacted me. If you're the one woman in a meeting of men, it's possible that they didn't see the same thing you did. Communicating to everyone at once will make your case weaker because they'll find it harder to see from your perspective if they're in a room full of people like them.

2) Hold your ground. If the discussion continues after you're gone (in my case, it's about product), shut it down when it hits the schedule. Train people to understand that nothing actually happens without your approval. If it isn't your decision, it doesn't exist. Eventually, they'll realize that ignoring you and discussing what they want is ultimately a waste of time because you're the gatekeeper.

If you can't have power and respect in conversation, find where you can leverage power elsewhere. I liken it to taking away a teenager's cell phone if they're talking back.

Any other tactics would be greatly appreciated :)