…e tell leadership what they want to hear or manage around them, reinforcing the culture of secrecy. A distant, disengaged style of leadership creates an environment where underrepresented people do not have the social handshakes that their mostly male, mostly white counterparts have. Underrepresented people will get marginalized, people closest to the facts will be excluded, and the quality of decisions will be harmed, along with the sense of justice. Over time, people who are underrepresented will be fired or quit, leading to a homogeneous team. Wh…
…Valley company, I was expected to act a certain way and be deferential to men because I am a woman. The discrimination I experienced at Pinterest was different from the “bro culture” so many other tech companies are notorious for. It was more subtle, but it was no less insidious and devastating.
My review was a textbook case of the “abrasiveness trap,” a concept Kieran Snyder, a female tech executive whose writing I admire, coined. “Men are given constructive suggestions,” she writes. “Women are given constructive suggestions — and told to pipe down.” One peer reviewer suggested I “spend time listening and ensuring your understanding of a challenge. Avoid interrupting people or misunderstanding intent.” In other words, I should pipe down.
It was impossible to do my job if I was excluded from meetings where important decisions were made. I had to waste time and energy just determining what was happening at a company where I was supposed to be a leader. When Ben tried to catch me up on critical decisions after the fact, I was unable to advise him, the reason he had hired me in the first place.