What Is Signaling And How Is It A Win-Win-Win For Male Allies?

c42c66caa25bb120bb5ae2bdb5ae2dd3-originaLeverage Your Influence

Image courtesy of Carlos Alberto Gómez Iñiguez.

Corner of the Court is a monthly feature on MARC published in partnership with The Corner of the Court Project, recognizing stories of male allies' impact on workplace inclusion, told by women. 

For more stories (or to submit your own), visit 
By Kim Saxton. I had a great boss, Shawn, when I worked as a technical consultant in market research at Eli Lilly. Shawn did two things very well: he knew how to navigate the company culture to build influence, and he showed his advocacy through a powerful behavior I call “signaling.”
If you value a person, you want to make them successful. At Eli Lilly, managers highly valued pedigree, so when Shawn introduced me, he used my full name and credentials: “This is Kim Saxton. She has a BS from MIT and her MBA/PhD in marketing and statistics from IU.” In so doing, he was immediately setting me up for success among the senior team and other staff.
Once introductions had been made, he would reinforce his support through signaling. When I was going to serve as his delegate at a meeting, he’d go into the conference room with his coffee cup, say “hi” to those already there, and then leave as the meeting began. Everyone then knew that I was empowered to stand in for him.

"He helped me be successful, he made the organization better, and he demonstrated how to be a great male ally.'"
During one initiative, he set up 33 presentations that I managed on his behalf. The intentionality he showed certainly reinforced his commitment to me and to his overall role as an advocate.
Shawn and I had a great working relationship. As a technical consultant within Lilly, I was working with 10 different brand teams and on several organization-wide initiatives. We even made an important presentation on one initiative to the top management team—the top 13 executives at Lilly.
When I finally took a vacation and came back, he said, “Holy moly. I had to get on your computer to find a file. I was shocked. I had no idea how much you’d been working! I’m glad that so many teams are asking for your help. Thank you for just taking it all in stride.”
It seemed like a win-win-win situation. He helped me be successful, he made the organization better, and he demonstrated how to be a great male ally.
1377a740cceec686391a1802a6bcc564-originaKim Saxton is a Clinical Associate Professor of Marketing at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business.

Posted by MARC Catalyst on Jan 24, 2018 12:01 PM America/New_York

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