A lot of things are maneuverable and avoidable at work, but misunderstandings and conflicts are definitely inevitable and unavoidable. This is 2018, offices have become a rapid-paced, multi-tasking and globalized environment, the pressure to deliver quality and reach targets on time and in-budget dramatically increases, as does the potential for conflict.
It's been learned through the study of behavioral patterns that there are higher hurdles for women at work than for men when coping with conflict. Although, if you've been paying attention, that wouldn't need a study at all, you know what I mean.
- Embrace your fight.
Many women chose conflict avoidance strategies because they do not want to be seen as aggressive or confrontational; qualities associated with men, scratch that, qualities celebrated in men. For these reasons, some women even deny they are competitive. There is nothing wrong with a little competition, but you know that already, you just feel the need to be the peacemaker. And that's sweet.
Of course, it's true that everyone, both your female and male coworkers expect you to display greater empathy towards the feelings of others and sometimes with reason out the window because you're a woman. However, let me be the first to point it out that you shouldn't take conflicts at work personally and you sure shouldn't see it as disruptive.
Heck, nothing at work is really personal, it's all just business. No matter the reason you have to doubt that right now, trust me, it's not what you think, it all still comes down to KPIs and paychecks.
So why not wear your grown girl pants, take on whatever issue it is with as clear a head as possible and see how miraculously it becomes insignificant/less a problem.
And no, I'm not saying you should become a meanie, you can be supportive and nurturing without being a pushover.
- If it's really not your business, don't make it.
Indeed, women often are the peacemakers of their organizations. You wake up one day and you realize you're completely webbed in something you have no business knowing about in the first place. You do this out of a feeling of loyalty, sympathy or simply because your colleague came to you to offload their woes and situation many men would reject as a waste of time and energy, immediately thinking, what's in this for me?
You should really ask yourself this the next time your work-friend comes crying to you. Let them cry on your shoulders; that's what friends are for, just don't meddle. I mean, that's exactly why the HR office exists.
- Stop trying to be everybody's nice cat.
I mean, you're nice (if that's who you are), but you shouldn't feel compelled to be the office nice lady. The thing is, women are expected to be nice, a subtly nefarious burden few men have to bear. This indirect yet powerful pressure forces career women to suppress their real and natural emotions which may include healthy feelings of frustration, anger and aggressiveness, because guess what, you're a human being too. Your true emotions and attitudes don't have to go underground while you painfully try to keep up appearances of how you should behave.
In fact, the tensions produced by such emotional self-suppression, however, is starkly shown in a study by Zogby International and the Workplace Bullying Institute, which revealed that when a woman bullies someone else, 80 percent of the time she has a female target, a form of gender-hate spawned by the relentless strain to be continually nice.
So you see, in the long run, trying so hard just makes it really hard. Of course, maintain good character, honesty, integrity, uprightness, punctuality, etc but ensure you stay true to yourself, queen.
- Do not treat her as your enemy
Neither is she your friend, she's just another colleague, except you both decide to take it further. You actually don't have to braid each other's hair but there is already a widespread belief among both genders that women judge each other more harshly than men judge women, women judge men or men judge other men. And it's bad enough that a conflict between two women is labeled a catfight, a belittling term that does not exist for men.
Similarly, the Queen Bee Syndrome is used to describe a female boss who has typically male traits - ambition, thinking of results not people, dominance, and feeling threatened by successful subordinates, particularly if they are women, when in fact these traits are characteristic of powerful leaders, regardless of gender.
A misnomer is already in existence, do not fuel the fire by seeing the next woman as a threat to your job because if you're really doing your job, trust me, you're just as woman as she is. It is pertinent that you clock in daily with this mindset.
As a woman, it's easy to want to mediate conflict, see it as hurtful to team members and simply be mother hen. For this reason, you may feel the need to think of others feelings first, consciously or subconsciously allowing your wants and desires to take a backseat, or to be completely suppressed.
Yet it is vital to remember that conflict is simply another aspect of the broad and rich palette of human communication. In a positive sense, conflict, if not allowed to spin out of control and become destructive or personalized can help focus our minds on the issues at hand and create the clarity to resolve puzzling problems.
I hope you caught a thing or two. If you did, let's know in the comment section. Looking forward to reading from you; till then, go ahead and be your own hero.