I Am Overly Cautious Of My Tone Because I’m Afraid Of Being Seen As Bitchy

Getting your message across clearly at work can be hard enough without overanalyzing how your tone will be perceived, yet that’s a position that many women find themselves in.

This week, leadership coach Lolly Daskal helps a reader figure out how she can say what she means and stop worrying about how she sounds.


I have a problem that I suspect a lot of other women have, too. No matter what the situation—on the phone with a client, in meetings, and even in one-on-ones with my direct reports or emails with my kid’s teacher—I’m super conscious of my tone. I want everyone to like me and I’m fearful of being seen as bitchy or demanding.

I know this is a double standard, and I’m sure men don’t waste their time worrying about their tone, but I can’t help it. I find myself second-guessing what I’m about to say and often searching for a “softer” way to say it, which I’m afraid just makes me sound wishy-washy. For example, instead of saying something like, ” The deadline for this is Tuesday morning,” I’ll hear myself saying, “It would be really great if you could get this in at some point on Tuesday, if it’s not too much trouble. I really appreciate your help.”

Any advice for how I can get my point across without so much pussyfooting? Should I just get over it and ask for what I want?

R E A D  M O R E..

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

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