Flirty women in the workplace are liked but not trusted

11 Aug

Flirting in the workplace can help women get ahead, but they’re not liked or trusted by their colleagues. Non-flirty women are seen as more authentic, which means that being flirtatious won’t benefit women’s careers in the long term, according to research from the University of California – Berkeley.

Flirtatious behaviour in the workplace won’t help women’s careers long term. (pic:

The research involved looking at videos of corporate negotiators, one of whom was a woman who kept flicking her hair and batting her eyelashes. The flirty women were liked but not trusted. However, flirting can be seen to be positive if used in a playful rather than overtly sexual way – and if used to ‘soften’ tough negotiations.

Professor Laura Kray, of University California-Berkeley, said: “We discovered both an upside and a downside to flirting at the bargaining table. Although flirtation appears to be positively related to women’s likability, negotiators who flirted were judged to be less authentic than those who refrained from exercising their sexual power.’

So, by all means use your feminine charm and read the audience so you know whether to dial up or dial down the charm offensive – but don’t overdo it. Other women in don’t like it – see Lucy Mangan’s column in Stylist, Flirting in the workplace won’t work long term – and it’s unlikely to get you very far.

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