As I was thinking more about this topic, I remembered something I have been dealing with about Confidence.  It seems that when male attorneys are given assignments, they are reluctant to ask any questions to clarify the work but simply take the assignment without any further to-do.

Women attorneys, on the other hand, will frequently ask questions and get clarification before they start on the assignment.  This is supposed to show lack of Confidence and therefore be detrimental to women in the workplace. Therefore, women were instructed not to ask for clarification or further instructions, to appear more Confident.

Hamburg: SprinkenhofWHAT NONSENSE!!!   The truth of the matter is that if clarification is needed, then the work product is going to get out faster and better with questions answered right away.  Less proofing and more positive feedback can be given when a good finished project is handed in the first time. 

So, I guess the important  question here is: Why does questioning create an indication that there is a lack of confidence?

Is there a more subtle truth that the person giving the instructions does not want to feel that they haven’t done a good job? That they were unclear?  That they are being challenged?  That questioning is uncomfortable? That questioning is a waste of their valuable time?

OR Does it just boil down to the fact that our culture supports the fact that questioning is weak and shows lack of knowledge and Confidence in abilities to do a good job when taking instructions?  Maybe we feel fear that the project won’t get done or done correctly if questioned. If a false sense of security can be demonstrated by men in this situation, is that more comforting to the person giving the assignment.  If so how did little boys learn this?

Are young men taught how important the APPEARANCE OF CONFIDENCE is and young women are not?  Maybe this is close to the right answer.  Let’s think about coaches that young boys experience early in life.  They are usually positive figures that tell the youngsters that they can do it! That they can work as a teamto win the game! That the coach “has Confidence in their abilities”.

Girls don’t get as much of this and as early in life as boys do.  Yes, a limited number of young women who are athletic can come across coaches who are very positive in building Confidence but most girls don’t have this opportunity in same manner that young boys do.  Girls in the classroom get points for raising their hands and asking questions. That can be intimidating for the boys.  They would rather keep quiet than make an error or look foolish.

I’m not sure this is the answer to this strange quandary but I do know that asking women lawyers to not ask for clarification when needed is just WRONG!  The answer is probably somewhere in between asking questions and not asking foolish questions…...WHAT DO YOU THINK?