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Thread: Working for/and with an abrasive female leader who may harbor sexist attitudes

  1. #11
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    I also would look at askamanager.com -search within the site for your issue

  2. #12
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    In my own defense, just want to say, I'm not jumping to wild conclusions when I mentioned her possible sexism. She said outright that she prefers working with men.

  3. #13
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    Originally Posted by Batya33
    I also would look at askamanager.com -search within the site for your issue
    That's a good site!

  4. #14
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    The best review of my life was from a boss who i thought didn't like me/was tough. A boss that was friendly and warm towards me and gave me a false sense of valuing me actually recommended firing me. Give me the straightforward boss who cares about deadlines and numbers that respects me when i earn it through my performance. If i throw a hail mary, they are going to recognize it and maybe even come to me to ask how i did it.

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  6. #15
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    Originally Posted by Rihannon
    In my own defense, just want to say, I'm not jumping to wild conclusions when I mentioned her possible sexism. She said outright that she prefers working with men.
    Well --- in my 20s I did to. my male bosses were clear about their expectations of me. So were female bosses who were 55+. I hated working with women in their 20s when i was in my 20s because the workplace was awfully cliquey. Men didn't talk all day about how they feel about their boss or coworkers like the young women did. I think you should be careful at deciding she is sexist. Just because someone has a preference does not make them sexist. If she wouldn't hire you because you were a woman, then that's sexist. If i say i prefer mentoring young people who are just starting in my industry, or i prefer working with established people 20+years older than me because i am new -- is that ageist?

  7. #16
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    Originally Posted by Rihannon
    In my own defense, just want to say, I'm not jumping to wild conclusions when I mentioned her possible sexism. She said outright that she prefers working with men.
    That doesn't make her sexist. At all. She's expressing a personal preference in a professional setting. She probably shouldn't share her preferences in that manner especially in today's climate. See this as an opportunity to learn from someone at the top of her field.

  8. #17
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    It's your boss's job to make decisions and direct how things will be done. It's pretty much inevitable that there will be times that you don't like it, don't agree with it, or plain don't want to do it their way for various reasons.

    However, before you go telling your boss this or that, ask yourself an important question - is your input required and would failing to provide the info be held against you?

    If yes, you inform your boss directly, "boss, here is x, y, z info re project, do you still wish to proceed as you stated?" Leave her to decide. Do it via e-mail, so it's documented and it will avoid you trying to contradict or make your boss look uninformed in front of the team. That way if she ignores the info and things blow up, you've covered your rear and can't get blamed. It wasn't your decision to make either way and you did your job to supply critical information.

    If the answer is no, and it's just a matter of personal preference, then quite frankly just go with the flow and do what you've been asked as asked. Avoid inserting your opinions on how something should be done where your input is not required.

  9. #18
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    I've been thinking about this a different way since talking about it, and have approached my interactions with her differently since this - I have not changed my behavior externally, just changed my mental approach, internally.

    Now, there's nothing I can do or should do to change her, but it got me thinking about the concept of a good leader and a competent manager/director. It seems that competency should include the concept of being a moderate person - not too extreme in either direction: not too soft, not too rigid. If a leader has all the most practical and best ideas, but turns people off and can't get anyone on board to follow her, due to her delivery, then the competency of this leader is questionable. I'm just considering this for discussion's sake, and not necessarily continuing to talk about her. I'm examining the concept of what makes a good boss. Part of it has to be getting other people - lots of different kinds of people - to willingly work toward a common goal, and part of that requires communicating that goal in a way that different people will understand its value. If you just tell people what to do, but can't effectively communicate why they should do it that way, there may be challenges amongst the ranks.

  10. #19
    Platinum Member itsallgrand's Avatar
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    Since you have the interest, why not do a bit of self study and/or take a short leadership class?
    I personally got a lot out of doing that. It helped me in clarifying my leadership style, and in understanding the differing styles of leadership.

    I've worked under a lot of relationship building orientated bosses. It caused a lot of conflict for me in the past, as it frustrates me when my work is subjected to so many social politics. I'm more value and task orientated.

    Point being, knowledge is power.

    One exercise I found particularly helpful was thinking of someone who I respect and admire. Name 5 positive traits of that person. Then do that with someone you don't like and who you clash with. Name 5 positive traits of that person in a leadership position.
    Doing this made me laugh at loud, as I instantly recognized how I was getting in my own way by refusing the person's approach. Super helpful, the self awareness.

  11. #20
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    Originally Posted by Rihannon
    I've been thinking about this a different way since talking about it, and have approached my interactions with her differently since this - I have not changed my behavior externally, just changed my mental approach, internally.

    Now, there's nothing I can do or should do to change her, but it got me thinking about the concept of a good leader and a competent manager/director. It seems that competency should include the concept of being a moderate person - not too extreme in either direction: not too soft, not too rigid. If a leader has all the most practical and best ideas, but turns people off and can't get anyone on board to follow her, due to her delivery, then the competency of this leader is questionable. I'm just considering this for discussion's sake, and not necessarily continuing to talk about her. I'm examining the concept of what makes a good boss. Part of it has to be getting other people - lots of different kinds of people - to willingly work toward a common goal, and part of that requires communicating that goal in a way that different people will understand its value. If you just tell people what to do, but can't effectively communicate why they should do it that way, there may be challenges amongst the ranks.
    So that's interesting. How have you done in leadership roles? Have you ever been a boss? I have and I didn't find it fun. I don't like having to delegate, I'm not great at ceding control of projects and that's in part because of really frustrating and stressful experiences I've had with people with a bad attitude and/or just not the sort of work ethic that would get the job done reliably and competently - and I often worked with really stressful, time sensitive deadlines that required everyone stepping up to the plate and going the extra mile, including me. I learned the following: not to give time sensitive "emergency" assignments if the emergency had anything to do with my not organizing my time well/being efficient; doing constant compliment sandwich emails, and never ever sending an email when I was frustrated with the work.
    I am happy that in my role now -part time - I don't have to do much delegating at all, I work with really great people for the most part and my supervisors are not touchy feely, not into "relationship building" or any other catch phrases like that - they are fair in how they assign work, good at getting back to me if I have questions and tolerant of my childcare/family responsibilities (well that is built into the part time role/program I joined so I feel comfortable mentioning those responsibilties when I am asked to take on more work). But I work my behind off for them at all times and am reliable to a fault. I feel appreciated enough but again this is not a touchy feely situation where people are going to constantly praise me, etc. My paycheck is my "thank you" and I often get thank you emails and occasional praise. I also know from my reviews all is going well. So it depends what you expect your boss to do for you also.

    I don't need to know the "why" of everything I'm being asked to do unless not being told will affect the efficiency. And I only ask if it affects efficiency/the bottom line. Again the focus for me is on the work, getting it done, not whether I feel good about doing it because I know "why". I also trust my boss to tell me the best way to get something done and I do it - I don't pry into the "why" unless I have to for purposes of the work. Or if there is time I might ask why if it will improve my efficiency on the next project.

    Again I like your ideas in general -what's more interesting to me is how you've implemented them in practice.

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