Study Says "Nice" Women Gain Influence at Work

We're not surprised by these findings, but it is always disheartening to be reminded how sexist our workplaces truly are. A new study set to be published in the Human Resources Management Journal, indicates that appearing self-confident is key for progressing in your professional environment. But that for women, "appearing self-confident is not enough to gain influence." For women, you also need to display "prosocial orientation." AKA, being nice.

To begin with self-confidence, it's interesting to look at as the study found that there isn't a big difference between how self-confident men and women feel. The difference is that women appear less self confident (to others) than men do, which ultimately ends up hurting their professional progression.

As for the niceness thing, that seems integral to women moving ahead, the study says, "women must be prosocial to reap the benefits of their job performance." Men, while it would be great if they were nice, don't have to be to move ahead. As the study's authors write, "The penalty for being [disliked] is not proportionate for women."

This really backs women into a corner, as being "nice" can be a double-edged sword, as can appearing "too" self confident. The positive here though is that calling out double standards and inherent bias is the only way we, as a society, are ultimately going to grow beyond it.