Social Media Shows No Mercy – Especially for Women

Authors: Pat Heim, PhD. | Tammy Hughes

I was having coffee this morning with my friend Mai. We were talking about a viral tweet we both saw yesterday. Everyone has been going on about Helene Wagner, the social media sensation with over 6 million followers. She recently posted some remorse about nasty comments she made several years ago to garner attention as an influencer while building her business. At the time, she felt she was being clever and edgy. But now one of those tweets has resurfaced and blown up in her face, with many attacking it around the globe. As she thinks back now, she acknowledges that she was often being cruel in her attempt to get attention and followers.

During our coffee conversation, I commented to Mai that someone like Helene, who I’ve come to admire, shouldn’t have been so cruel. I told her that I was planning to stop following Helene Wagner because of this nasty streak that I didn’t know was there. Mai caused me to pause when she asked me if I would also unfollow some of my favorite male influencers for the same sort of cruel comments? She gave me some examples of rather crass guys that I follow. I have to admit that at times I like their raw style. This stopped me in my tracks and I began to wonder if I was being unfair to Helene by judging her differently than men.

Social media is often unfiltered, as people post what they would never say in person. The reality […]

Social Media Shows No Mercy – Especially for Women2021-08-11T20:33:52+00:00

Avoid Mismanagement 5: Communication Conundrum

By: Pat Heim, PhD. | Tammy Hughes | Latitia S. Lattanzio, PhD, NCSP

Jill’s Dilemma

I work on a marketing team at a large consumer goods company with five other women. I’m new to the team and quite young. In fact, this is my first job out of college. The other five team members are much more seasoned than I and have been at the company for many years.

When it’s time to collaborate as a team, my colleagues never seem to support my ideas. They’ve implied that I’m the baby of the group, yet they don’t treat me with any bit of nurturing. I truly believe they think I have nothing to offer. Whenever I do offer a suggestion, I’ve caught some of them rolling their eyes, and they even cup their hands to whisper to one another.  They always say, “that’s not a well thought out idea” or “that would never work around here.” The atmosphere is cold towards me and almost toxic. I feel like these adult women take me back to the discomforts of junior high. I didn’t experience anything like this in my work internships, but as I think back, I mostly worked on teams of men.

We have serious marketing challenges around here, and I feel qualified to help tackle them.  But my team seems more interested in their cliques and territory. Their behavior suggests that they’re hung up on generational biases. It’s almost as if they’ve chosen their queen bee and will do anything to keep her happy. It’s frustrating me and […]

Avoid Mismanagement 5: Communication Conundrum2021-08-11T20:30:45+00:00

Avoid Mismanagement 4: Meeting Behavior

By: Pat Heim, PhD. | Tammy Hughes | Latitia S. Lattanzio, PhD, NCSP

Same Expectations or Different?

The finance team at a sporting goods company comprised of eight men and one woman are deciding on the direction for a new product line. A lot of divergent ideas are being tossed around and Susan is particularly passionate about her perspective. As the group began to discuss the best direction—several argued for their point of view. Susan was outspoken about her product ideas. She wanted to make sure she was really heard, she repeated herself and even raised her voice.

A few days later, Susan’s boss Jayden asks to see her. He begins to discuss Susan’s “problematic behavior” at the recent product launch meeting. He tells her that he got feedback that she interrupted others, raised her voice, shut everyone down, and even pounded on the table. Jayden informs Susan that this “curt” behavior is unacceptable on the team. Susan is surprised that she’s being described as “curt.” She explains “I felt very passionate about my ideas and wanted to make sure my outspoken team members heard the direction I was recommending.” She turns to Jayden and asks, “Would you have used the word “curt” to describe this behavior if it were coming from one of the men on the team?” Jayden was taken aback and realizes he would not describe any of the guys as curt. As a result, he let the matter drop but doesn’t know how to handle situations like this in the future. What just happened?

Because […]

Avoid Mismanagement 4: Meeting Behavior2021-06-16T17:25:08+00:00

Avoid Mismanagement 3: Catfights to Colleagues

By: Pat Heim, PhD. | Tammy Hughes | Latitia S. Lattanzio, PhD, NCSP

Olivia Pommereau’s Dilemma:

I work for the Marketing team at a large tech company with five other women. I’ve loved working here because my colleagues are so supportive. We’ve gotten really close over the years, and the six of us even went on a weekend vacation to Las Vegas together. My boss, Neal Nixon, has consistently commended me for reaching my performance goals, so I think I’m doing really well here. Still, I was surprised by his recent offer for a leadership position.

Now that I’m leading the team of five, I’ve noticed my once-friendly female colleagues have cooled off towards me. The warmth is gone, and the atmosphere feels standoffish. The ladies aren’t inviting me to lunch, and not one of them has congratulated me. They no longer ask me to consult on projects or stop by my desk to chat. There’s nothing overt that I can put my finger on, but something feels different now.

I just can’t figure out what went wrong. Before I was promoted, I felt like we were all friends around here and things were running smoothly. I noticed that my colleagues are frequently going into Neal’s office, and I suspect they’re complaining about me—I wonder if I’m not doing a good job? I wish Neal had never picked me for this promotion.

The Problem: 

A major difference in the male and female cultures is how power is used and perceived. When a woman behaves as if she has more power than […]

Avoid Mismanagement 3: Catfights to Colleagues2021-06-16T17:24:36+00:00

Avoid Mismanagement #2: How Promotions Can Backfire

By: Pat Heim, PhD. | Tammy Hughes | Latitia S. Lattanzio, PhD, NCSP

Neal Nixon’s Dilemma:

I lead the marketing team at a large tech company. Bar none, Olivia is my best employee! She consistently produces high-quality work and has extremely good working relationships with her colleagues. So when it came time to decide who to promote, it was an easy decision for me.

Olivia’s female colleagues are now her direct reports, but they’ve started coming to me with complaints. In fact, their complaints are mostly about Olivia. One colleague claimed that Olivia was “bossing everybody around.” Another challenged that Olivia “didn’t have as much experience” as the others on the team. Several have asked why they didn’t have the opportunity to interview for the position.

I just can’t figure out what went wrong. Before I made this promotion decision, I felt like everything was running smoothly around here. What have I done?

The Problem: 

A major difference in the male and female cultures is how power is used and perceived. When a woman behaves as if she has more power than another woman (even if she does) this can create significant problems between them. We call this the Power Dead-Even Rule. Businesses, by their very nature, are hierarchies and this can be confusing for women who often unconsciously expect more equality with other women—including their bosses!



The Tips for Neal: 
  • Recognize that the problem is not in promoting Olivia, specifically. Rather, you have upset the power balance by promoting […]
Avoid Mismanagement #2: How Promotions Can Backfire2021-06-16T17:25:49+00:00

Avoid Mismanagement #1: Tense Emails

By: Pat Heim, PhD. | Tammy Hughes | Latitia S. Lattanzio, PhD, NCSP

Yesterday, Anna prepared reports and sent them to her co-worker, Tomas, for review. The next morning, she received a reply email that said:

“The numbers you sent me were incorrect. I need you to review your work and send me information I can actually use.”

Anna is shocked and taken aback by Tomas’s curt response. She quickly reviews her work and has another coworker review it as well. They find no errors. She wants to blast Tomas for his discourteous and inaccurate message, but she’s not sure that’s the best way to solve this…

Here are four tips to consider if you find yourself in Anna’s situation:
  1. Take time.
    • Knee-jerk reactions are often emotional and illogical.
    • Don’t quickly assume you’re wrong and apologize
    • What’s the rush? Not every message requires an immediate response. Give yourself time to plan your response.
  2. Don’t personalize – this is about the numbers, not about you.
    • Find the errors, if any, and make corrections if needed.
    • When composing your reply, focus on the numbers and not on how you feel attacked.
    • Empathy – think about the predicament this has put him in because he believes the numbers are inaccurate.
  3. Take action.
    • Much miscommunication can easily be resolved through direct, live- time conversations
      (e.g., phone call, face-to-face, Skype, Zoom).
    • Take caution to not own a mistake before it’s been found.
  4. Respond in a live-time format (e.g., phone call, face-to-face, Skype, Zoom)
Avoid Mismanagement #1: Tense Emails2021-06-16T16:52:07+00:00

Why Women Have Such Intense Relationships

by Pat Heim, Ph.D.

While co-writing my book In the Company of Women, Indirect Aggression Among Women: Why We Hurt Each Other and How to Stop (Tarcher, 2001) my co-authors and I received a soon to be published study about stress and women. Suddenly everything made sense.

Why Women Have Such Intense Relationships2018-03-27T15:26:26+00:00

Commotion about Promotions

by Susan Murphy, Ph.D., M.B.A.

"I'm so disappointed I didn't get the promotion to Department Manager!" exclaims Kay, "He should have known I wanted it!" When Kay's manager was promoted to Vice President, his former position had been posted. Kay didn't apply; she assumed her manager knew she wanted it.

Commotion about Promotions2018-03-27T15:25:42+00:00

Effectively Managing Conflict?

by Serge Lashutka, M.A., M.B.A.

Recently I met with the top team of a family owned furniture manufacturing company to discuss teambuilding. The top team of 12 people is half male and half female. However, more than half the team members are related to the husband and wife who started the company.

Effectively Managing Conflict?2018-03-27T15:24:58+00:00

The Golden Rule Has Lost Its Shimmer

by Tammy Hughes

When I'm conducting workshops, participants will occasionally ask, "Wouldn't all of this diversity training be unnecessary if we all just started practicing the golden rule?" Great question… so let's explore!

The Golden Rule Has Lost Its Shimmer2018-03-27T15:24:15+00:00
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