16 FEB, 2016

Taylor Swift – Bad Blood Leads to Good Career Advice

Aside from Adele’s audio mishap and Lady Gaga’s show-stopping David Bowie tribute, Monday night’s Grammy awards are generating buzz thanks to one young lady by the name of Taylor Swift. Swift has been in the news lately due to a line in a new Kanye West song where he implies that he is the reason for her fame because of his interruption of her acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV VMA’s. (The actual wording is offensive so I’ll leave it out.)

Taylor took the stage to accept her award for Album of the Year and said this:

“As the first woman to win album of the year at the Grammys twice, I want to say to all the young women out there: there are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame. But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going, you’ll look around and you’ll know it was you and the people who love you who put you there, and that will be the greatest feeling in the world.”

Taylor’s pointed comments also come on the heels of a study by a Harvard PhD candidate finding that women in academia get less credit when they team up with men. Study author Heather Sarsons found that only 52% of women received tenure at the first schools where they were eligible, compared with 77% of men, despite there being no statistically significant difference in the number of papers that men and women produced or in how often they co-authored papers. The gap between the sexes shrinks as women solo-author more papers in lieu of collaborating.

In addition, a 2013 study by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and NYU found that when given positive group feedback, women who thought they were working with a male colleague devalued their own contributions and emphasized the other person’s success in a questionnaire response. In follow-up studies, this behavior was not repeated when women worked with other women.

What can we take from this information?

For employees: Take credit for your accomplishments and get the recognition you deserve. If you were solely responsible for an accomplishment, say “I,” not “we.” Don’t feel that you are showing off if you’re being honest and giving credit where credit is due, even if it’s coming your way.

For managers: When there is a group project or achievement to recognize, take note of all the participants, not just those who speak the loudest. Take a little extra time to understand the way each team member contributed, especially if you have women on the team who aren’t as likely to toot their own horns.


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