Your Next IT Manager Challenge – Girl Fight!

By this time in the 21st Century, I’m hoping that we’ve all got the diversity message: gender, race, age, sexual orientation (you as well California) don’t matter when hiring people today for jobs or when managing them. Even so, it turns out that there is been a pink elephant lurking inside the space that many of us (males) may perhaps haven’t noticed: girl fights!

I am not talking about “I’ll see you out inside the parking lot following work” kinds of fights. Rather, it turns out that there is a sneaky issue going on within the workplace. Females are actively treating one another badly. Hmm, where did this come from?

Peggy Klaus wrote a telling report within the New York Times a when back in which she pointed out the challenge which has been there all along. Peggy can be a leadership coach who has genuinely been there, completed that. This has allowed her to spill the dirt on this dirty small secret…

So what are women undertaking to each other at function? This can be a lengthy list. How about: limiting access to critical committees and meetings, holding back on important information and facts, giving assignments and promotions to other folks, even blocking access to folks who might be mentors or senior management.

Most of these bullying actions could be placed into 1 of 4 buckets of poor behaviors: verbal abuse, job sabotage, misuse of authority, or connection destroying. Who knew that so much undesirable stuff was going on at perform?

The people more than in the Workplace Bullying Institute have done  a study that showed that females bullies target their abuse towards girls an amazing 70% of the time. On the other hand, men who are bullies seem to split their bullying equally between the sexes. This leads to the big question: why bully inside the first place?

It turns out that there are a lot of theories for why girls treat girls badly within the workplace (no – this is not a Jerry Springer moment):

Scarcity Breeds Bullies: since promotion spots are so few these days, ladies at upper levels are unwilling to help females at lower levels advance for fear that promotion spots will go to those that they help.

Go Bootstrap Yourself: This is usually a familiar one – I had to get to where I am with no help from anyone, so you should have to do the same.

Avoiding Favoritism: in today’s hype-PC work environments, girls don’t want to create an appearance that they are favoring females over males.

Hyper-emotionality: Everyone agrees that girls are generally more sensitive to emotions than men are. Some also believe that females more easily take offense and can quickly start to hold a grudge. This means that they can start to overreact when they feel slighted by someone.

So what’s an IT Leader to do with all of this girl-fight knowledge? No matter if the IT Leader is male or female, the steps that need to be taken are the same. The first step is create a true “open door” policy so that when girl fighting goes on behind your back, the victims will feel free to come to you and report what is going on.

The second is that you need to call the bully on their actions. Depending on the IT Leader’s gender (like if you are a guy), you need to be careful here. On the other hand, mistreating any employee is unacceptable and the bully needs to be told that this will not be accepted.

The nice issue about bullies is that generally when they get caught, they back down and shape up quickly. Yet one particular more 21st Century task for an IT Leader to master!