Women vs women: Reducing the Culture of Hostility in the Workplace. Why does it have to be women versus women and not women building each other? It has become a normal thing to hear women complaining about their relationship or lack thereof, with other women within their respective workplaces. I am quite positive that some of you may have even experienced issues with other women with whom you’ve worked. I, too, have been exposed to conflict with other colleagues of the female gender.
Just a few days ago, a male friend of mine raised this issue as part of a program he was planning to address. He was concerned that while society tends to focus on issues between men and women, very little attention is paid to a pervading issue of how women treat each other and possible reasons for their behavior. My friend’s discussion resonated with my own experiences and that of other women.
I thought that by writing about this topic, I would bring awareness and solutions to my readers who are currently in similar situations. This post is for women on both sides of the spectrum; the ones harboring malicious intent against their colleagues and the ones who are on the receiving end of such a disturbing trend. Here is a link to a video done by another writer which basically speaks along the same lines in the nursing profession: http://elizabethscala.com/why-incivility-still-exists-in-nursing/
Though the issue of hostility exists wherever women dwell together, my intention is to focus on some of the reasons why women experience conflict among each other within the work environment and to suggest ways in which we can lift each other up.
Women: Rivalry for Leadership Positions
Everyone wants to be the Leader or select a leader of their choice. When one woman is in a leadership position, rather than support and build the organization, other women alienate or try their best to sabotage the one currently holding the position. Often times, the group’s intention is to select one of their own in hopes of having total control and punishing those who are not in the clique. Since there may be multiple cultures within the workplace, the majority group becomes so forceful in their quest for power that they
would stop at nothing including bullying and subtle insults. In some cases where I’ve witnessed this phenomenon, the person who is elevated by the group also becomes another victim and is subjected to similar treatments that the former leader endured.
Lesson: There can only be one leader and no matter who is at the wheel that person is not always going to make decisions that resonate well with everyone within the organization. Rather than trying to sabotage the leader, women need to be supportive followers by making constructive criticism and being helpful in finding solutions that are in the best interest of all.When we sign a contract with a company we should always perform our best and never let who the leader is be a deciding factor on how well we perform. Most importantly, we should work as a team and leave our tendency to fight against each other outside of our respective workplaces. There is no greater turmoil than working in an environment where there is no peace, trust, compassion, empathy, and support for each other.
Women in Competition: Who Will Be First?
I remember one friend of mine complaining to me of another colleague who bragged about owning a car before she did. As ridiculous as this sounds, it does happen among women. We try to out-win each other in everything imaginable. What does a car have to do with anything? Well, just as women brag about what we own before another, we also brag about our academics, or the number of times we fly. Sometimes we may have information about an opportunity that may benefit others, but instead of sharing we keep it to ourselves. Our aim in the latter instance is to hide what we do until we have achieved it so that we can spring a surprise to our colleague next door.
Lesson: competition is not a bad thing, but when done as a means of trying to look better than others I view it as being shallow. It really does not matter where one is when compared to another. All of us were born different. We have different talents, interests, goals, and rates of development. Our opportunities, ability to afford higher education, and view of what is meant by the term “success” is different.
Women Being Envious of Each Other
It is sad to say but the green eyed monster has pervaded the work environment, especially among women. Usually, one woman coworker deems the other as having a unique quality, gift/talent, or position they wished they had. So, rather than fully concentrate on her role within the organization and develop professionally and academically, an envious woman colleague focuses on creating unpleasant situations so the object of her jealousy can suffer. It is as if she is the only one who wants to move forward. Anyone else trying to help themselves or be unique becomes a threat, unknowing to them.
Lesson: It is normal to have a little feeling of jealousy and envy, but it is not normal when it is taken to the extent where women try to do anything in their power to bring other women down, just to see them fail. If we are jealous or envious of something another colleague has, instead of plotting against and hating, we should take it as a challenge for self-improvement. When we are too busy looking at what other people has instead of finding time to plan and achieve our own goals we will never get ahead in life. Women, we need to do ourselves a favor and stop wasting time looking at what other women have: use that time to look at our lives and how we can improve. Most importantly, we do not need to hide opportunities from each other, there is enough success out there for all of us. Let’s embrace each other’s uniqueness, support, and build each other so we can all live a peaceful and happier life.
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