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by Vault Careers | December 17, 2010


When a man—regardless of his HR prowess—says flirting is a good negotiation skill for women to use in the workplace, don’t take his advice. Don’t do it.

On Fistful of Talent today, EVP of HRU Technical Resources Tim Sackett, writes:

"[…] if you have a strength, like flirting, and you are also a woman... then you need to find ways to use that to your advantage in a business setting - to get your project budgets approved, who influence decisions in the way you feel they should go, to get that cute guy in marketing to go out with you (just kidding on the last one!). Bottom line, use your strengths when negotiating, and don't feel bad about it".

Here's why:

  1. You might see it as mere, harmless flirtation but your (male) boss might see it as a sexual invitation. This scenario can go two ways: First: He is receptive to your 'harmless flirtation' and reciprocates. Now what? Second: He uses the "sexual harassment" policy and reprimands you. Even worse, HR warns you. Now what?
  2. Ever heard of "actions speak louder than words?" I'd follow that dictum rather than flirt for a raise. Sure, women have to work harder to prove themselves in the workplace—as any gender discrimination in the workplace survey will prove—I still say, flirting isn't going to change that. Instead, it furthers the myth that women need to be flirtatious to get ahead. You would be much better served to focus on selling your personality and your ability to excel.
  3. There are already enough stereotypes in the workplace for us women to worry about. Do we really need another one—as welcoming as the "positive results" of flirting might sound—to distract us from being recognized for our true potential?

Still not convinced? Leave a comment and let's discuss.

Visit Fistful of Talent to read Sackett's complete post.

--Aman Singh Das

Aman is Vault's Corporate Social Responsibility Editor. Read more of her posts on In Good Company, Vault's CSR blog. You can also find Aman on Twitter @VaultCSR


Filed Under: Workplace Issues

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