By Assunta Ng
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella created controversy last week due to his comment that women should trust in karma for a raise and shouldn’t ask for better wages. This was said at the Women in Technology conference. Why did Satya say what he said?
Three factors influenced his response. He was born and raised in India, where there can be a lot of disrespect for women. Some Asian cultural values don’t focus on self-expression. We are taught not to have opinions, but to conform to authorities and the elderly. We are raised not to impress, but to follow the rules. Some Asian cultures tend to shape us to be deep thinkers, rather than quick thinkers for social interaction. New in his CEO position, Satya is unequipped for multi-dimensional human and social issues.
Satya needs some sensitivity and gender equality training. The CEO has all the resources to hire a public relations consultant to prep him when dealing with the public. He just needs to be surrounded by visionary mentors or advisers. The pay-equity issue was bound to come up, especially when “women in technology” has become a hot topic.
This is the second time he fouled in a public appearance. The last event was his keynote speech at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, when a number of people had expressed disappointment for his lackluster delivery.
Is he hiring an independent consultant to guide him before interviews and to give honest feedback afterwards? Who wants to say, “Boss, you are great, but not that great?” It would be better than using in-house staff as there might be struggles with conflict of interest. Even the most talented performers need help. Many articulate leaders are not born with the skills and mindset to persuade, but we can all adapt to be great communicators. (end)