Quick Studies

How Female White House Staffers Got More Credit with Amplification

Breaking through in your organization, to have your ideas heard and concerns addressed, might require working together.

Doing your job well is important, but so is getting credit for your work. If you’ve ever experienced someone getting credit for your idea, or if you regularly witness it at your workplace, consider using amplification as illustrated by the female staffers of the Obama White House administration:

  1. Agree to support each other. When Obama took office, two-thirds of his top aides were men, and many female staffers felt that their voices were not being heard. When they noticed that male colleagues were often getting credit for their ideas, female staffers decided to support each other.
  2. Amplify each other’s voices. When one woman made an important point during a meeting, other women would repeat the point, giving credit to the author. This builds credibility for the idea and re-acknowledges the originator, while denying the opportunity for anyone else to claim the idea as their own.
  3. Make it a habit. The female staffers repeated this process whenever a woman made an important point, and made a point to do it every day. When female staffers started getting more credit, people noticed. Obama began calling on women more often, and during his second term, women gained parity with men in the President’s inner circle.


Published January 18, 2017

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