Morgan Stanley COO: Women need more Teflon, less Velcro

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Women have a tendency to create the wrong expectations of themselves, says May Busch, COO Europe at Morgan Stanley.

Speaking at last week's London Business School Women in Business event, Busch told assembled MBA students, bankers, networkers and female empowerment enthusiasts that women need to be conscious of their 'Velcro'.

Rather than advising attendees to check that easy-access garments were correctly fastened, Busch was urging them to pay attention to the "invisible things that we expect about ourselves" - and that others expect about us.

Having identified these 'Velcro' issues, she said women need to ditch them for something more empowering - the 'Teflon' effect.

A typical example, according to Busch, is women who are very well organized. "Are you the person who is always relied on to take notes?" she asked. "Or do you use your organizational skills in a way that is powerful and empowering."

The best way to disengage yourself from the wrong kind of Velcro is apparently to ask for feedback from colleagues on how they perceive you. "Male managers can be particularly unwilling to give women feedback," said Busch. "You need to be the most safe person for them to give feedback to."

And if someone says you're the mousy one who always takes notes in a meeting? Busch says the only way to react is to say thank you - "and then go away and be honest with yourself about where your power lies and where you want to be."

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