Career

Manage Your Expectations To Stop Bullying

Mean Women Articles

Did you ever expect that mean girl from high school would turn up as a mean woman in the workplace? If you didn’t have an effective way to deal with her then, she’ll probably be able to torment you in the workplace now. Do these fit your definition of bullying?

  • Some days Sharon is nice and other days she is really rude and downright bitchy to you. Everyone else shrugs and says it’s “just the way she is,” but you are losing sleep over this.
  • Teresa always tells you stories that make other coworkers look foolish or incompetent. You find out she’s telling stories like this about you — behind your back.
  • You confided to Leslie (your best friend) that your married boss asked you out for a drink and asked her how you should handle it. Now you hear she’s spreading gossip in the break room that you’re having an affair with him.

Types of Bullying: Is Bitchiness a “Female” Flaw?

Some researchers say that men have ritualized ways to resolve competition and aggression. They play sports or punch each other in the schoolyard. Middle class women are more often taught to be covert in their response, so things continue to fester. Our media love to focus on the female “catfight” and frequently stereotype women as catty.

But men are awful to each other too, in different ways. Men expect to be teased, ridiculed, criticized and “one-upped” by other men, so they are not confused or dismayed by it. (This behavior is arguably more human than female. In fact, in the barnyard it’s called the pecking order. Chickens routinely peck to death their weakest member. So it’s more animal behavior than human.)

Most women are warm and supportive, so we may expect ALL women to behave that way. Your expectation may be “that women leaders will all be more nurturing than males and everything will be wonderful,” says Dr. Gary Namie, founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute, a Washington state think tank.  “But women are just as capable of being tyrannical as men. If the corporate structure rewards aggression, they will be aggressive.”

What Behavior Do You Expect From Other Women?

Workplace consultant Marlene Chism says (Four Things Workplace Bully Can Teach You) to regard bad behavior as a gift because it forces you to decide how you want to be treated. “The good thing about experiencing unwanted emotions is you get to claim what is totally unacceptable. The only problem is when you continue to allow the behavior to continue.”

If you have unrealistic expectations like these about women at work you are setting yourself up for pain:

  1. You expect the other women to support you from Day 1.
    In reality, trust takes time. Just because she possesses a uterus does not make her a candidate for being your friend or confidant, so beware the instant best friend. Take your time opening up.
  2. You expect to like everyone in your department and to enjoy working with them.
    The truth is, you do not have to like someone or be like someone in order to work effectively with her. Your co-worker doesn’t have to like you either.
  3. You think they are trying to undermine you if someone disagrees with you.
    In fact, just because she has a different opinion doesn’t mean she has abandoned you or disconnected from you. You really can still work together effectively.
  4. You want to know everything about your coworkers’ personal lives so you can support them.
     Actually, it’s often better NOT to try for intimate relationships on the job. This can make it easier to avoid personalizing your differences. It’s just work.
  5. Work is your world and you don’t have time for a personal life.
    Your career will be much healthier if you cultivate a strong support system outside the workplace. It will be easier to shrug off frustrations and disappointments at work.

Do you need to work on adjusting your expectations? Don’t fret that you will become too harsh or uncaring. You are on your way to becoming more professional and mature in your approach to work.

Strategies to Stop Bullying

  • Sharon may not be aware of the inconsistency in her behavior and of its effect on you. It’s also possible other things going on in her life are distracting her. Catch her alone and say in a friendly and neutral tone, “I want to work effectively with you and I’m confused that sometimes you seem angry with me. Have I done something to offend you?” Respond to whatever she says in a friendly and professional manner, and end with a positive statement reinforcing your working relationship.
  • The next time Teresa starts to gossip about a coworker, say in a friendly tone, “You know, I’ve made a new resolution not to gossip. It’s too hurtful. I’ve even heard there’s a story going around that paints me as incompetent. Can I count on you to help squash it?” You can do this in a group.
  • Leslie doesn’t deserve a spot on your “best friend” list, so beware. Next, catch her alone and say, “Leslie, I hear there’s a rumor that I’m having an affair with the boss. You know it’s not true. Will you help me nip this in the bud? What do you suggest we do?”

Yes, you’ll need to toughen up just a smidge to face down your co-workers, even in these relatively non-threatening ways. Practice in front of a mirror or with a friend until you can say it without crying or screaming. Don’t worry if you feel shaky – that’s normal with a new skill and it will get easier with practice. Learning how to deal with mean women will make you a lot happier as you advance in your career.

~Dr. Nancy

Have you encountered a book or website that helped you deal with mean behavior by other women? Please let us know in the comments below. We will check it out and post a link for other women to benefit.

Read the Whole Mean Women Series:

  1. Why Are Women So Mean To Other Women?
  2. Manage Your Expectations To Stop Bullying
  3. Manage Your Boundaries | Learn to Stop Bullying
  4. Stop Bullying and Advance Career by Building Professional Skills
  5. Correct Your Own Sexist Attitudes
  6. How to Deal with Indirect Aggression from Other Women
  7. Should You File a Formal Complaint About Abusive Behavior?

Have you encountered a book or website that helped you deal with mean behavior by other women? Please let us know in the comments below. We will check it out and post a link for other women to benefit.

Manage Your Boundaries | Learn to Stop Bullying

mean-women-manage-bounderies

 

How other women in your organization perceive you builds the foundation for your relationships. If a bullying woman sees you as weak or vulnerable, she might choose you as a target. You may need to build up your position of strength. Do any of the following scenarios look familiar?

  • Jackie acts like she’s sweet and caring, but then every Friday afternoon assigns a rush project that MUST be done by Monday morning.
  • Emily continually ‘forgets’ to include you in meetings and emails that directly concern your job. You found out yesterday that everyone had a great time at a social event she hosted that you weren’t invited to.
  • Anne Marie has always denigrated your abilities to colleagues and management. You ignored it at first but now find yourself isolated and insecure.

How To Stop Mean Women and Bullying

You have to screw up your courage and confront these behaviors in a courteous, professional and insistent manner. Easy to say, hard to do, but you CAN do it. First, you need some important stress therapy.

  1. Start by looking inward. Acknowledge you are human. You are AWESOME (of course) and also capable of aggression, spitefulness, cruelty, vanity, pettiness and so much more. Accepting this will enable you to be more realistic about yourself and other women.
  2. Pump up your stress management program to take outstandingly good care of yourself. You need to be strong for this battle so Claim Your Power.
  3. Love yourself. It’s normal to look to other women for support and approval, and it’s normal for them not to grant it. Instead they may gossip, hold grudges, spread rumors, slander and ostracize. Find support somewhere else so you are not so needy at work.

Now you are ready to look outward at what you are expecting from your bully. It’s irrational to expect other women to be constantly nurturing and supportive. In primate communities of great apes and chimpanzees, females will attack each other and kill each other’s babies. It’s in their DNA. Often their alliance with a male serves to protect them from other females. Our relationships are similarly complicated.

Define Boundaries to Stop Bullying

Don’t assume the victim role. If you allow bullying behavior to continue, you risk escalation of that behavior. It’s up to you to decide how you want to be treated and make it clear what you will allow. While you don’t want to become a bully yourself, don’t let her make you the doormat.

Instead, you need to stake out and defend your boundaries, says Marlene Chism, author of Stop Workplace Drama: Train Your Team to have No Complaints, No Excuses, and No Regrets. This is assertive behavior, not aggressive behavior. For starters, avoid using a confrontational “you.” In psychology we suggest using “I-messages” that share information about ourselves without making accusations. You will find more ideas and techniques in my e-book, Claim Your Power.

I-Messages Define Boundaries

Here’s a script. Fill in the blanks for your particular situation:

  1. When you …(criticize me in front of others, leave me off of important emails, etc.)
  2. It makes me feel … (embarrassed, angry, frustrated, etc.)
  3. This happens … (it’s harder for me to do my job, our whole department suffers, etc.)
  4. I’m asking you to … (give me critiques in private, make a conscious effort to include me in emails, etc.)

If a nasty coworker accuses you of being too sensitive when you deliver your I-message, Marlene suggests  you simply say, “Perhaps I am too sensitive, however I’m asking that you discontinue (the unwanted behavior.)” You admit to the human weakness of being too sensitive, then focus on what the coworker is doing, rather than on the coworker personally. And you clearly ask for a specific action.

How to Deal with Bullying

Looking back at the examples at the start of this article, how might you address them in a positive professional way? Always focus on the work, not the person.

Early in the week ask Jackie to look ahead to plan workflow. You might say, “I’ve been able to work on weekends in the past but my schedule is changing and I won’t be able to for a while. I’m committed to our company and to supporting you. How can we work together so I can do what you need during the week?” If she presses you to explain, just say in a friendly and confiding way, “I’m not ready to talk about this personal matter yet.” You are telling the truth. Your “personal matter” is to stake out your boundaries and have a life!

Women like Emily are difficult. Try a three-part message: When you “leave me off the email list, people start gossiping that you are angry with me and it hurts my feelings. Would you please check to make sure I’m included on the distribution list?” If she doesn’t change, ask a co-worker to share information with you until you can “resolve some email problems.”

If behavior like Ann Marie’s goes on too long, it can destroy your chances at the company. Talk with her privately and tell her you want to improve your usefulness to the company. Thank her for anything she has ever done for you and ask what new skills or habits she thinks you need to improve. Women who bully often feel insecure and asking her advice may defuse her resentment. Ask her if there is some way you could be more helpful to her. Meanwhile get busy documenting the smart and useful things you are doing for the company and make sure management knows about them.

Never gossip or complain about these bullies behind their backs. In all three of these situations, you are taking responsibility for advancing your career. You are drawing boundaries around your territory rather than cowering in the closet crying or complaining to your friends.

~Dr. Nancy

Have you encountered a book or website that helped you deal with mean behavior by other women? Please let us know in the comments below. We will check it out and post a link for other women to benefit.

Read the Whole Mean Women Series:

  1. Why Are Women So Mean To Other Women?
  2. Manage Your Expectations To Stop Bullying
  3. Manage Your Boundaries | Learn to Stop Bullying
  4. Stop Bullying and Advance Career by Building Professional Skills
  5. Correct Your Own Sexist Attitudes
  6. How to Deal with Indirect Aggression from Other Women
  7. Should You File a Formal Complaint About Abusive Behavior?
  8. Should You Stay or Should You Go? by Meredith Fuller

 

Correct Your Own Sexist Attitudes

Mean Women Articles

Bullying Statistics show that women overwhelmingly target other women for their bitchiness and bullying. They also hold women (including themselves) to a different standard than men. Sometimes we trap ourselves in stereotyped behaviors without realizing it. We may unknowingly treat other women in ways that infuriate them.

How would you handle types of bullying like this?

  • Your administrative assistant Alicia gathers around the coffee pot with other admins every morning. This morning they shushed their conversation, giggled and rolled their eyes when you walked in. Your admin has started making snide remarks under her breath when you tell her to do something.
  • Louisa dresses unisex-conservative and criticizes a co-worker behind her back, saying Patti’s colorful, glitzy girly clothing makes her look like a slut. You worry that her appearance reflects negatively on all the women in the company. You’ve debated whether someone should say something to Patti.
  • No matter what you suggest, Sheila finds fault and proposes an improvement. By now you grit your teeth when you see she’s at the table and hesitate to even bring up your ideas.

We’re Trained to Behave Sexist

Women have been trained to forgive men almost anything, but they may be oversensitive to other women. They hold other women accountable for the tiniest perceived difference or slight and often jump to criticize each other.

They have been taught to be indirect and women may hold grudges (men can, too). Women do better to express anger or frustration ONCE – directly to the woman with whom you are upset, without mentioning it to anyone else. Then let go of it. There is healing in speaking our messy embarrassing truths and then forgetting it. It can clear the air.

Women may be so afraid of being criticized as “an honorary man” that they recoil from speaking their truth. We may be so afraid of conflict that we avoid healthy give-and-take.

Co-workers Expect Women To Be More Caring and Nurturing

The other women at a company are not responsible for each other’s happiness and performance on the job just because they, too, are women. Marlene Chism, consultant, national speaker and author, offers several clues that indicate a lack of personal responsibility:

  • Blaming someone or something for one’s unhappiness
  • Gossiping about other people instead of going straight to them
  • Walking on eggshells to keep someone happy
  • Pouting or using the silent treatment

Gossip and calling names is especially harmful. “What might help is a commitment not to believe everything you hear,” says Phyllis Chesler, “but in fact to disbelieve it, especially if it’s something negative about another woman.” Developing the courage to stand up to a gossiper will boost one’s self esteem and standing at work, although it may make you the next target.

Non-sexist Solutions

So how might you apply these principles to dealing with Alicia, Louisa, Patti and Sheila?

Ask Alicia in private, in a diplomatic and calm tone, if you have done something to make her angry. Never assume you know what is going on; always ask for clarification. It may not be about you. On the other hand, you may have unknowingly offended her and need to apologize. Do you treat her with courtesy, appreciation and respect? If the behavior continues even after you try to make peace, ask your manager to review responsibilities and priorities with both of you.

Louisa’s criticism of Patti is especially sad. Listen carefully and you’ll hear how harshly women judge each other’s appearance. If she is violating company dress code, her manager will tell her and it’s none of your business. “Calling another woman a ‘slut,’ ‘crazy,’ ‘difficult,’ and ‘enemy,’ is a way to get her out of the way, punish her, break her spirit, because you envy her,” says Chesler, author of Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman (Nation Books) .

Just because Sheila has a uterus doesn’t mean she has to love everything you suggest. She’s demonstrating her usefulness to your employer. Would you react the same way to a man? Being a team player means releasing your idea for further improvement by the group, so don’t take it personally. Unclench your teeth, thank Sheila for her suggestions and think how you can further improve on her ideas. Pretending to agree with another woman and then voicing disagreement to co-workers is not getting along with others; it is a recipe for endless conflict.

Do You Treat Men and Women Differently?

When Phyllis Chesler conducted interviews for her book Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman, women “mainly talked about how other women had disappointed or betrayed them. Few were able to recall the ways in which they had disappointed or betrayed other women.”

Women thank men for the tiniest things but expect another woman to do everything without being asked and without thanks. Learn to say please and thank you to other women. Treat other women with courtesy, warm ceremony, and make them feel truly appreciated. Be sincere; phony shows through every time.

Watch for nonprofessional behaviors and sexist habits among both men and women in your workplace. Even more important, be alert to your own.

~Dr. Nancy

Have you encountered a book or website that helped you deal with mean behavior by other women? Please let us know in the comments below. We will check it out and post a link for other women to benefit.

Read the Whole Mean Women Series:

  1. Why Are Women So Mean To Other Women?
  2. Manage Your Expectations To Stop Bullying
  3. Manage Your Boundaries | Learn to Stop Bullying
  4. Stop Bullying and Advance Career by Building Professional Skills
  5. Correct Your Own Sexist Attitudes
  6. How to Deal with Indirect Aggression from Other Women
  7. Should You File a Formal Complaint About Abusive Behavior?

 

Have you encountered a book or website that helped you deal with mean behavior by other women?

Please let us know in the comments below. We will check it out and post a link for other women to benefit.

How to Deal with Indirect Aggression from Other Women

Mean Women Articles

 

So many women have asked me, “Why are women so mean to other women?” Of all the challenges they face in the workplace, this seems to cause them the most angst. Whether it’s called bullying, bitchiness, relational or indirect aggression or some other term, this behavior can make you dread going to work.

Have you ever had a bullying experience like this?

  • Sue ignores you, conceals information needed for your job, pretends not to see you and refuses to speak even when you address her directly. You look in a mirror to make sure you haven’t become invisible.
  • Willa gives you little gifts and is so sweet to you. She claims you are her very best friend and tells you “secrets.” Then she accuses you of turning on her and telling another co-worker what she has told only you. This escalates into office drama where everyone takes sides.
  • Jenna is supposed to be your administrative assistant but she always has an excuse that keeps her from doing anything you ask, and these excuses often cast doubt on your competence.

Does any of this sound familiar? You have my sympathies.  Most women don’t behave this way. Probably because women are among some of our closest friends, we are shocked and alarmed when we encounter these situations. Women are good at masking their behavior, so you may not think of this as bullying, but that’s what it is.

My team and I are going to share some of what we’ve learned about this troubling issue in our next several posts. Maybe you have a friend to share these with. Let’s help each other develop strategies for dealing with this annoying behavior.

The good news is: you have within you everything you need to handle mean women in the workplace. (More about this in later posts.)

But, here’s the bad news: you are probably going to have to handle this by yourself. Studies show only the luckiest employee will get help from management. Unfortunately, trying to force an unsupportive boss to act may actually cost you your job.

Employers Rarely Stop Mean Woman Bullies

Look what we learned about how employers respond to complaints of bullying:

  • Workplace bullying affects more than 1/3 of employees, according to a 2010 online poll by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), a Washington state think tank.
  • Working women know from experience that 40% of those bullies are women, and that they overwhelmingly target other women with their abuse!
  • Early results from an online WBI survey revealed 87% of employers reacted by denying, defending, discounting or rationalizing the abuse.

The WBI’s current poll asks, “How did your employer react to complaints of abusive conduct? This chart shows the results breakdown on 2/21/14.

Chart from Workplace Bullying.org

WBI Results Breakdown from Feb. 21, 2014
“How did your employer react to reports of abusive conduct?

Take the poll yourself to see updated results.

Women – we clearly are on our own here! It’s time to get smart.

Why You Need to Do Something about Bullying

Are you thinking you can just put your head down and suffer through it? Maybe you think she will miraculously see the light and stop being so awful to you. After all, you are both working for the same company and have the same goals, right?

Sadly, in many cases this doesn’t seem to apply. Women have many reasons for being bitchy (see Why Are Women So Mean to  Other Women?) Women also have learned a vast arsenal of indirect aggression tools they use to make your life miserable. They really haven’t changed much since high school but they have refined their skills.

They all mess with your peace of mind, make you doubt yourself, gnash your teeth and lose sleep. They may even make you cry. They definitely draw energy and attention away from your real job. Can you spell S-T-R-E-S-S? See if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Feel shame, guilt, numbness, sadness, fear, anger or depression
  • Dread going to work; can’t concentrate
  • Doubt yourself and second-guess every move
  • Fret so much it messes up your stomach
  • Complain to family and friends who are sick of hearing about it
  • Exhibit symptoms of extreme stress
    • Increased blood pressure
    • Waking in the night to worry

“Bullying has tremendous health harms,” says Dr. Gary Namie, WBI founder. “There’s cardiovascular issues, ulcers, and colitis. Now we know that stress also changes the brain, affecting memory and ability to concentrate.” Being called stupid will actually make you appear less competent to co-workers.

Obviously you can’t afford to let this go. It could ruin your health, damage other relationships and maybe even destroy your career. Don’t let it happen!

Do seek support from friends and family and share with them your plan for managing this situation rather than just complaining (again!) about the bully. Read blogs and self-help books – everything you can to help you gain confidence. One caution though: avoid recruiting co-workers to gang up on the bully. You’ve got to take the high road and maintain your professionalism.

Change the Way You Respond to Bullying

In strategizing ways to handle this situation remember you can’t make another woman do or think or say or feel anything. But you can change yourself in an instant. You can transform your relationships by changing the way you respond.

It’s like birds pulling on two ends of a piece of string. If you drop your end, the game is over. Maybe the other bird keeps dragging the string around, but you don’t care. You’re in the other room talking with the boss about your next challenging assignment!

Watch for our next post about woman-on-woman bitchiness and ways you can deal with people like Sue, Willa and Jenna.

~Dr. Nancy

Have you encountered a book or website that helped you deal with mean behavior by other women? Please let us know in the comments below. We will check it out and post a link for other women to benefit.

Read the Whole Mean Women Series:

  1. Why Are Women So Mean To Other Women?
  2. Manage Your Expectations To Stop Bullying
  3. Manage Your Boundaries | Learn to Stop Bullying
  4. Stop Bullying and Advance Career by Building Professional Skills
  5. Correct Your Own Sexist Attitudes
  6. How to Deal with Indirect Aggression from Other Women
  7. Should You File a Formal Complaint About Abusive Behavior?

Why Are Women So Mean To Other Women?

Is there a woman in this world who DOESN’T have a story to tell about being bullied or shunned by another teenaged girl? Many adult women also have stories about a woman at work. It is so common, it seems like it’s a part of our nature. But I know we can aspire to a higher standard of behavior. The fact is most women do NOT bully others.

Look What Women Philanthropists Do To Improve the World!

improveA recent report from a senior volunteer leader for the United Way. All across the USA, 131 United Ways have developed women’s leadership councils. Ever year, more than 56,000 women volunteers in women’s leadership councils raise more than $155 million  JUST FROM OTHER WOMEN.

Women change the world for the better!

The National Women’s Leadership Council of United Way Worldwide (NWLC) is the largest women’s philanthropic organization in the world. NWLC just celebrated having raised $1 billion dollars from women during the last 10 years, half of it during the economic downturn 2007-2011. That’s amazing!
The United Ways that have instituted Women’s Leadership Councils have an overall gain in their local annual campaigns ranging from 4% to as high as 12%. It’s a market-based and carefully researched fact: involve women in leadership, philanthropy and advocacy and watch things grow.
 

How Do I Find a Mentor?

mentors-give-worldCorporate America spends millions of dollars each year to make the workplace more efficient and productive. Finding and retaining talented and experienced workers is key to reducing turnover and high operational costs. Mentoring new employees and helping them become successful on the job is one way to reduce turnover. Women can benefit from a female mentor who has knowledge and experience and can show them “The ropes.” The mentor can be a guide, a role model and a good adviser.

Women Helping Women in the Workplace: A Smart Business Decision

To find a mentor, look at your community. Is there someone you admire for her skills or success? Invite her to coffee, to go on a walk or just call and ask her advice. Everyone likes to feel admired. Developing this relationship may take some time and effort, but it will not only help you, it will help your mentor in return.

There’s no shame in needing help now and then. A good mentor has so much to offer in experience and training that you are bound to learn, grow and excel in your field. For more information about mentoring or finding a coach, talk with your friends and colleagues or search the Internet.

How to Start a Mentoring Program with Your Company

You can also take the initiative and start a mentoring program in your company. Here are some simple ways to get started:

  1. Send out a questionnaire to all the women in your organization to gauge the interest in starting a women’s mentoring program. This can be sent through the human resources department or from a supervisor or department leader. If there seems to be a lot of interest in such a program, find some leaders who can help put one together.
  2. Search the Internet for information on local women’s professional organizations. See if they have any existing mentoring programs. There is no reason to re-invent the wheel. If there are local programs, you can encourage other women in your organization to come along and join with you.
  3. If there aren’t any programs in place locally, you may want to consider starting you own. Understand the purpose of such a program and define guidelines and membership policies. This should be a voluntary, supportive group of professional women who seek to help other women coming into the profession.
  4. Decide the focus of the mentoring program you create. There should be regularly scheduled meetings, whether once a week, once a month or once a quarter. The meeting place can be as professional as the conference room or as casual as the coffee shop. Create a system that will allow members to pair up based on their similar interests and needs.
  5. Foster the relationships created in the mentoring program by checking in with members for feedback. Encourage them to meet one-on-one, build relationships and meet outside the office for advice and bonding. Networking parties, local charity events and organizational meetings are ways that mentors and mentorees can learn more about their industry.

Do I need an Education to Get Mentored?

Mentoring programs can also help women transition from little or no education or job experience by assisting them with educational needs, clothing, social skills and overall support. One of the more successful is the Suit Yourself Program run by The United Way. Women are given professional clothing and accessories for job interviews, as well as training for their GED. They learn computer and communication skills that will help them advance in the workplace. This is a mentoring and assistance program where everyone involved wins.

Mentoring helps build a healthy workforce and ensures that new, excited and trained women come up through the ranks.

Women Still Underrepresented in Management

todays-woman(Springfield, MO) — In the 1950?s, statistics show about one in every three women worked. Today more than three out of five women have jobs.  But in some areas, there’s still room for improvement. A recent government report found the number of women in management positions has increased by only one percent over the last ten years.

Local women say it’s a trend they hope doesn’t last. Walk into any coffee shop in America, and you’ll find every day people, who have expert opinions about women’s rights. “I can’t recall a woman saying a man got promoted over me, but I often think it’s not always that blatant,” said Jordan Gloyd.

“When I started working there were no women in management and now there are a lot of women in management positions,” said Marge Anderson.

Right now national surveys show women make about twenty cents less per dollar than their male counterparts. And locally, Dr. Nancy O’Reilly, a psychologist who specializes in women’s issues, said there’s some key areas where women are underrepresented. “We need more women in politics, we need more women in business and industry and we need more women in the spiritual world,” said O’Reilly.

The biggest roadblock towards getting those jobs?  Dr. O’Reilly said it’s a shortage of female mentors. “This is where I think we can be the most powerful and helpful, when we sit down with other women who want to enter a professional career,” said O’Reilly.

All the people we spoke with say the biggest issue facing women isn’t having the right job skills or dealing with sexism, it’s self-confidence. “Women need to step up to the plate a little more, and be a little tougher,” said O’Reilly.

That means, having confidence in your decisions, not being afraid to think outside the box and making yourself stand out to your employer.
“You can go as far as you want to go— it’s just how much work you want to put in,” said Marge Anderson.

Dr. Nancy O’Reilly is part of an organization through the United Way, called FLIP, which stands for Female Leaders in Philanthropy.  For more information about that organization go to the United Way’s website at www.uwozarks.com.

Velvet Anchor versus the Glass Ceiling

velvet-anchor-social

A while back, I was speaking to a group of graduates students about women and if they felt that, in our current world affairs, there was equality for women in their careers and other aspects of their lives.  I was surprised to hear that many of  the young female graduate students felt they were not always treated fairly.  To my greater surprise, they told me it was other females who were the culprits.  One of the women said this may of been the Glass Ceiling Effect, but was now the “Velvet Anchor Effect”. 

What is a “Velvet Anchor Effect”? 

It is what is not like the Glass Ceiling which women have hit their heads on trying to advance their rights, their careers and their lives.  The Velvet Anchor  it is what is holding them down. 

Do you think women in your work place and in your life are holding you down or keeping you from being all you can be?

I often wonder when I hear a woman put down another woman how that helps any of us to find our bliss.  I also wonder if women are not to blame.  We hear of a woman’s despair, about the hard knocks that life has dealt her and some women coldly respond to the story.  She may be a young woman, single and possibly rearing a child on her own. Then, some woman says “it is her own fault“.  What kind of person is that??

How Can I Stop the Velvet Anchor?

Today make a pact with me if you would and promise yourself that if you hear someone put a woman down, especially at your workplace, you will step in and stop that from happening.  Also if  you find yourself  angry at one of your sisters….do not put her down do something about it.  Today is the day we can change the world one woman at time by helping her and bringing her along. If we all do this, we have nothing to worry about we will all find the Glass Ceiling and the Velvet Anchor have disappeared.

Mentor Other Women and Help Yourself, Too

By Dr. Nancy D. O’Reilly
Boomer-Women-LeadI talk often about the importance of mentoring younger women. After I spoke with Dr. Janet Rose about her Seven Secrets of Parenting Girls, I realized these ideas applied equally well to working with other women in the workplace and community.
Use these guidelines, adapted from Dr. Rose’s advice, to make your mentoring efforts more effective.

  1. Build their brand. Instead of commenting on appearance, noticing and call attention to those qualities like strength, critical thinking, and independence. Use those words to describe her like: smart, mature, leader, persistent, hard-worker, independent, creative, talented, skilled, outgoing, brave, confident, tough, strong, fair, deep-thinker, outspoken, athletic, mathematical, scientific.
  2. Promote independence. Encourage and support problem solving, exploration, and stretching out of her comfort zone. Reject stereotypical limitations to “female” roles. Instead of saying: “Let me do that for you,” ?say “I bet you can do that for yourself. ?I will watch you and coach you if you need it.”
  3. Encourage thinking and speaking up. Don’t accept their silence: question, praise, probe, clarify, and correct the women around you. Encourage them to ask questions, refine their thinking, share their opinions and achieve more. Discuss why something worked or didn’t work. Teach her that she is valued for her good thinking skills.
  4. Stimulate learning. Support and approve of her learning new ideas and skills, especially those beyond her current role. Math, science, technology, and complex management strategies are all well-within the female brain’s scope, so encourage her to read and explore. Discuss ideas and challenge her to explain what she has learned.
  5. Support education. Expect them to take pride in their learning, to do their preparation, to work hard to advance, and to value educators and education!
  6. Widen career options. Point out women in management positions, leadership roles, and non-traditional jobs. Talk about what women CAN do when you see males in gender stereotypical roles in the professions and in business. Say, “How would you like to be CEO?” and let her know this is an option. Brainstorm the steps needed to arrive at that goal.
  7. Promote awareness. Point out gender-biased messages when you encounter them in the workplace and in society. Analyze their lack of validity and discuss ways around the implied limitations. Validate her feelings in the face of these messages.

If you do all of these things in mentoring other women, you’ll be mentoring yourself as well. Set an example of all these strength-building activities and you’ll find yourself flying high and fast toward your goals.
***
Listen to my Conversation with Janet Rose here “Women Empowered by Their Parents
Read more of Dr. Rose’s wisdom here < http://blog.parentinggirls.com/>

Scroll to top

SITE MADE WITH LOVE BY CHOICE DIGITAL MARKETING