I’ve noticed something for a while. When meeting in larger groups of men and women at work when a man has a question – he asks it. Often before a woman starts with her question the sentence begins with “I’m sorry”. And I also hear “This may be a dumb question” before asking their question. Recently, I noticed it happening eight times in a row during technical training for a new software tool. And it was different women beginning their questions this way. Educated and experienced professional women. I wonder why we have to apologize before asking a question. It really is self deprecating behavior. I’ve been guilty of it, too. I’m going to work on it. You should never feel like it is wrong to ask a question.
I read a book a few years back called “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office” by Lois Frankel. It’s not about not being nice, it’s about being assertive. And how certain behaviors sabotage our success without thinking about it.