What the Dead Even Rule means to Women Entrepreneurs

Your life is about to change. Honestly. Once you understand the basic rules of these invisible yet powerful rules, you’ll be able to  communicate effectively with both men and women and totally rock your goals, whether you work in an organization or for yourself. Let me explain.

Women have a hard time being heard in the workplace. As an Ombuds who worked with women affinity groups, women told me that they were shushed, shamed, talked over or just plain ignored when sharing their point of view or suggestion in meetings. With valuable input to share, they were frustrated about why they couldn’t get anyone to listen.

Women are unkind to other women in the workplace. I saw for myself the damage that happens when women decide to  sabotage other women, directly through aggression or indirectly though silence. It tarnishes them all and makes it even tougher for the next woman to imagine taking a risk to grow.

Woman on woman aggression exists.  Dr. Pat Heim, a management consultant who  looks at gender-related communication issues in the workplace, talks about the Dead Even Rule.  Watch the video for her explanation of it.

In a nutshell, women are socialized around harmony and men are socialized around hierchy.  As kids, our games primed us  to accept and practice our roles.  Boys play competitive games, where there is a leader or winner and loser, cops & robbers and football, for example.  Girls play collaborative games, where there is no leader and you can’t win or lose, playing house or Barbies.   As a result, boys learn to deal with loss, mistakes and how to be (and) accept a leader.  Girls, not so  much.

We learn to nurture our relationships so that no woman has more power than any other–the Dead Even Rule. And,  we learn to prize peace and avoid conflict at all costs.  I’m not saying this is every woman.  I am saying that every woman has experienced some part of the Dead Even Rule at some time, socially or professionally.

Watch Pat in the 20 minute video.  She covers an amazing amount of eye-opening material in twenty minutes.  She discusses:

  • The Dead Even Rule
  • What men mean when they say teamwork and what women hear
  • How to think about your mistakes or losses so you can benefit from them
  • A strategy for learning to talk gracefully about your accomplishments
  • How to talk so men hear you

Although the video is geared towards women in organizational settings, I think it’s very relevant for entrepreneurs.  After all, you are selling your services to who- men and women.  Just understanding the Dead Even rule exists can make your feel more resilient.  This is my pet interest so we’ll be talking about it again.

What’s your takeaway from the video? Have you encountered the Dead Even Rule in your life?



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