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Work Bully

Work Bully written by Pati Root

You managed to survive the little innuendo’s and tolerating the mean girls club only to grow up and discover the bully you had to deal with all though school now works where you work. Worse yet, the bully could be in management.

Could this be true? Really?? A recent conversation revealed a female manager experienced “mean girl” bullying from a female executive when she ordered a Bud Lite at a business “night out” instead of wine or a cocktail. Last time I checked there wasn’t an etiquette rule on what to order in a bar when drinking with business associates. In a separate conversation, a frustrated female did not know how to respond when a female executive made fun of her for reading USA Today saying it wasn’t a real newspaper.

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, 23 percent of CEOs today are women and 50 percent of all managers are female.

Geraldine Laybourne founder and CEO of Oxygen Media says, “We are raised to be good girls. We’re raised to not ruffle feathers. But the truth is we don’t build business by being accommodating. Sometimes I think when we are direct, we are perceived as you know, the b-word. And that’s not right.”

OK. I buy that. I believe that. In fact, male bosses are just as likely to be office tyrants. I’m curious if a male had made the comments about the Bud Lite or the USA Today, would they have been perceived as offending or laughed off? As females, do we expect female managers to be kinder, sensitive, and more understanding? (Not going to happen) However, anytime a person is belittled, intimidated or criticized for personal beliefs and preferences that are not business related, that’s bullying, and it has no place in the work place or work functions.

When I see anyone (female or male) demonstrate passive aggressive attitudes, or trying to show the spotlight on their own superiority it’s usually because they are insecure and lack confidence. It’s their own little slice of “I’m so awesome” heaven. To that I say, who needs it and who cares.

As female professionals, we have to be confident and believe in ourselves. When we are direct, we must know what we are talking about. Our planning needs to be strategic with clear, well defined objectives. We need to cast visions that are understandable, using words and images others can relate to. We must say what we are going to do and do what we say. We must be accountable for our commitments, and ask for help if we truly don’t understand something or need clarification.

And if you believe you are the victim of workplace bullying, step back and let the emotions settle. Was the person being offensive or just lacking tact? Weigh your options. Talk to your manager (providing it wasn’t your manager doing the deed), talk to HR, or talk to another manager. When in doubt, talk it out.

Working with a results coach can help you develop your career path and achieve your personal goals. Contact coach@rootdynamics.com to schedule a complimentary session.


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