Yea that’s right, I heard that this week: “I don’t like working for women.”
This was said to me by a new, female, direct report. She didn’t have much of a choice about working for me and I guess she wasn’t happy about it. Like many corporate restructurings, her choice was to take an open role on my team or lose her job.
But still, to be that blunt about it was stunning.
I didn’t know if I should applaud her honesty or kick her ass out of my office (trust me I was not thrilled about getting her on my team either).
So, how does one respond to a comment like that? I am sitting in my office as her new manager and I’m torn. On the one hand I want to tell her I don’t want to work with her either, on the other I know that stooping to her level will not be helpful.
So, I responded back with:
“Well, tell me about the women you reported to in the past.”
As she talked I heard some genuine reasons to dislike managers, not women. She described what she didn’t like:
- A manager who gossiped about her direct reports
- A manager who was un-ethical
- A manager who did not have the respect of her peers because of the above actions
It’s unfortunate that in this person’s work experience, her only female manager displayed the above behavior. But that behavior is not exclusive to women. Those are behaviors we see in men and women.
It’s also unfortunate that my direct report decided to lump all women into this category.
That’s right. My direct report, like many people, decided to negatively stereotype, the same way that people negatively stereotype minorities (see Torin’s post last week for an excellent example of this).
Can we please stop with this bullshit?
Women of the world: please stop agreeing with stereotypes when they are just stereotypes with no actual evidence to back this shit up.
Women of the world: can we start fighting these stereotypes and calling them out as unfair stereotypes?
Women of the world: can we please stand up for each other and support each other?
“There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.” – Madeline Albright
Madeline Albright is right, and all my female readers know that. I’m going to do my part with my new direct report. I am going to be the best damn manager she’s ever had. I will do everything in my power to help her succeed. And when she moves on to her next role, she is not going to tell another person “I don’t like working for women.”