Hello SOTGC community,
“There’s a place in hell reserved for women who don’t help other women.” ~ Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State
It often feels that, from childhood, girls have been pitted against each other by society. We tell girls that you must be the smartest, prettiest, skinniest, and so forth. These pressures create internal angst in young women and unhealthy competition. In the media, we see movies like Mean Girls, which perpetuate the stereotype that girls are jealous, mean, and ruthless with each other. But is that reality?
When I told my family that I wanted a true career and that I wanted to be involved with women’s leadership activism, I had varied reactions. One member of my family said, “Oh, I would never want a female boss … they are always manipulative.” Another member of my family said, “Why would you want to work with women? They are so mean to each other!” Maybe my family had experiences in the past that warranted these comments; however, my experience has been the complete opposite! I have found the women I work with to be my greatest cheerleaders and biggest fans. They have been my sisters and my mothers. They have been the reverse of what society, the media, and my own family expected.
It made me wonder why my experience has been different. I think it starts with my company, which is focused on women’s development and has a fantastic women’s leadership group. However, I think that for the most part it has come from within me. I have a secret that I will share with you, and though it may not help in all situations, I believe that if applied daily you will, over time, have a better experience with other women. My strategy is twofold:
1. Compliment other women. Sure, telling a coworker or friend you like her scarf is polite and may even get a smile. However, learning the art of giving a meaningful, genuine compliment will serve you well. For example, after a female coworker gives a presentation, you might say, “Sarah, your presentation was so well thought out! I especially liked the part where you gave us examples and strategies for giving our customers a better experience. Could you teach me more about this later today?” Learning to compliment someone’s hard work and knowledge, rather than their outward appearance will help them not only to trust you, but to become a cheerleader for you as well. You may even find that Sarah was a little nervous after her presentation, and that you were able to make her more confident afterwards!
2. Turn your jealousy inside–out. I have learned that the twinge of jealousy you may get when a coworker gets recognition over you, or is picked for a special project, or is promoted over you can quickly turn into the “big green monster” if you are not careful. So, I turn my jealousy “inside-out.” The moment I begin to feel jealousy, I immediately speak to the person I am feeling jealous of. If they were picked for a project over me, I pick up the phone and call to be the first one to say congratulations. Try your very best to project an air of genuine happiness for your coworker, even if it stings. By confronting your own jealousy head on, you will quickly extinguish this toxic feeling.
Do you have ideas and strategies for overcoming workplace jealousy? Continue the conversation with me on Twitter @ryangreenonline and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007156953049