"Dude, don't you realize she's the boss?"
It's a scene that many female executives can relate to.
In the latest installment of my interview series "Two Questions with Adam Bryant," Equinox CEO Niki Leondakis recalled the interaction from a meeting she attended about a decade ago. Even though she was the leader, she noticed the men in the room weren't making eye contact with her, and they were talking to her male subordinates instead of her.
When her colleague left the room, one of the men in the meeting said, "When your boss comes back in the room, we should discuss this." An awkward moment, to be sure, but Leondakis didn't have to say anything. Another colleague of hers set the record straight with his "dude" explanation.
"All of a sudden everything shifted, and they started making eye contact and redirecting the conversation to me," Leondakis said. "It just goes to show you that assumptions were made — because I was a woman, and the only one in the room, I was subordinate to the guy sitting next to me."