I recently read an article in the New York Times about women in the workplace. It was a great article and the source, Peggy Klaus, knows what she is talking about. She was dead on in her assessment of women and how they treat one another. We would like to think that when we get a group of ladies together, the relational aggression leaves the building and sisterhood and maturity take priority. This is so far from the truth.
Lets face it. Women are covert in their abuse and the workplace is of no exception. Its done in underhanded, backstabbing ways. Instead of talking things out in a rational manner we tend to go to anyone but the source of our problems. If we show emotion, we are considered bitchy which some take as compliments. Someone will correct our errors or criticize and we tend to take it personally. Or, we withhold information from others to benefit our own agendas. Some will take their maternal instincts into work and try and boss others around. Others may hold grudges for some reason and allow this to filter into the office. Or, comments get made which could be considered left handed compliments. In the grand scheme of things, all this does is lower productivity, increase illness and the company looses instead of gains money. Who can work effectively under these circumstances?
This is not meant to slam my own gender here. Men are just as capable of climbing into the sandbox as we are. This is to raise awareness of my gender and how our behavior affects each other and the organization as a whole. Some things I know would help would be some communication training. We are not taught to verbally express ourselves in honest and tactful ways. Therefore, we resort to this petty behavior which at the end of the day leaves everyone an emotional mess. Ladies, stop the clique building and office politics. Please let go of the grudges and lack of trust for one another. Your purpose in being there in the first place is to do a job. Not get gossip and building notebooks full of mistakes on behalf of others. Stay focused on the job at hand. Also, focus on your own job and let your superior worry about what everyone else is doing. If a colleague screws up, let the appropriate people handle it. If there is conflict, sit down with a third mutual party and talk things out. Listen and I mean really listen to what the other party is saying. That is the biggest problem right there; the lack of listening skills and the need to place blame on others without looking at our own behavior and how it is affecting the company. Nobody is perfect but as adults, we can try to at least get along for the sake of the organization.
I have been in this position a couple of times myself. Its not worth the time or energy. Please, put a stop to it if you see it going on. Allow someone who knows about peer abuse at work to come in and speak to you. Keep an open mind and most importantly, do your own job and stop sweating the nonsense!