Decision Making #likeaboss

By Alexandra Wilson and Ollie Field

24cb1e3d866e376a5ab47a08a6896ee4.jpgWomen are catty, talk behind one another’s back, and compete to be the best dressed. These are all common stereotypes of women, and most people would agree that women are more judgmental than men, right?

Wrong.

Psychologists who have studied gender differences in the development of personality, such as Carol S. Dweck, have discovered that many females are less likely than males to believe that negative personality traits in an individual are permanent when they are asked to evaluate an unfamiliar person. To find out this information, Dweck and her research partner, Gail Heyman, conducted a study in which they asked elementary school-aged children, “Imagine a new girl is in your class. She steals your things, calls you mean names and trips you at recess. Do you think the new girl will always act this way?”

The children either responded as a “sociomoral stability endorser” (children believing the new girl will not change) or as a “sociomoral stability rejecter” (children believing the new girl will change). The results found that 55.0% of males were considered sociomoral stability endorsers, compared to only 8.7% of females. Simply put, the females believed that a girl who exhibited pretty bad behavior for elementary school would change, while the males were significantly more doubtful.

This means that by the time boys and girls have reached elementary school, they already have a preconceived notion of behavior, personality, and the capacity for behavior to change.

Why might this matter? …..

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Well, these findings can be exemplified in the professional world, too. Women in high positions of power might be more open to an employee’s behavior changing, or giving said employee a second chance, after a first impression. Additionally, there are times when women need to leverage this openness to change because it makes them better
bosses, and other times they need to cut their losses and move on from a co-worker or fire an employee.

So how can we, as women, find a balance between being too forgiving and too cut-throat?

It all comes down to decision making. Whether you’re choosing whether or not to give your employee a deadline extension or figuring out if that awkward first impression really represented your new co-worker, use the following techniques to make the best possible decision:

  1. Identify the purpose of your decision.
  2. Gather information.
  3. Identify the principles to judge the alternatives.
  4. Brainstorm and list different possible choices.
  5. Evaluate each choice in terms of its consequences.
  6. Determine the best alternative.
  7. Put the decision into action.
  8. Evaluate the outcome of your decision.

No matter your decision, isn’t it comforting to know that the data says your lady friends will be supportive of your change? … even if you do trip someone at recess.

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Disclaimer: don’t trip anyone at recess or in the office.

 

What Jessica Day Taught Us About Work and Play

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By Erika Harrington

So my latest Netflix obsession is New Girl.

Have you seen the episode where the main character, Jess, joins a local politician for a game of golf with the other powerful women of Los Angeles. Her mission: to get new books for the middle school that she works in. It was a funny play on the ‘seal the deal over a game of golf’ trope that is associated with television CEO’s and senators.

At first I was pumped up at seeing all women in a traditional male dominated scenario, but then I became annoyed at how satirical the scene was. A game of golf, talking highlights from football Sunday, or (at least in the world of Wolf of Wall Street) going to a strip club, are all ways people have connected with their bosses and coworkers. They’re also incredibly gendered hobbies.

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Don’t get me wrong, I am all for these out-of-work recreational activities. Spending time with the people you work with, in a relaxed setting, is healthy and beneficial to professional environments. The problem occurs when the activities are based on traditionally masculine interests because women are informally, and probably unintentionally, excluded.

This is where Rachel Aslop comes in. Aslop was interested in different channels of informal networking used by professionals, so she studied the characteristics and benefits of four employee book clubs by interviewing their members. The results were basically what you expect to hear at a ‘key to success,’ motivational talk seminar about the importance of golfing with your boss. These book groups allowed coworkers to come together in a welcoming environment, get to know one another better, and make connections that strengthened their professional networks.

Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about blowing money on expensive golf clubs.

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But what if I hate reading and golfing and strip clubs? Then what do I do?

Well the beauty of this study isn’t that it’s suggesting that book clubs are the best way to network. Rather it shows the importance of exploring new and creative ways to develop professional relationships.

Don’t buy into the traditional image of sucking up to the boss while riding in the cart to the next hole. Think outside the box.

Network channels don’t have to be complex. The Economic Times recently published an article with the story of four women from different departments, frustrated with being stuck in their mid-level management positions. They began to meet for lunch once a month to talk about their work lives.

Over time, they began to progress in their jobs. How? When one woman was talking to people in her departments, she would mention one of other three women and the great work they had done. This got their names circulating throughout the company and allowed their accomplishments to be shared without them having to brag about themselves (something women have been known to struggle with, but that’s for another post).

So find something you can do with your coworkers to bond with each other, that is free from the stress of the 9 to 5 work day. Go bowling every Wednesday, set up a carpool, etc.

BTW, anyone interested in binge watching New Girl together?  

I’m Sorry, it’s Not Me–It’s All of Us: Truth Told by Transmen in the Workplace

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By Joey Konrad

Have you ever pointed out a troubling gender pattern at your work, only to have it explained away in personal terms? Maybe it sounded something like this “I think you’re overreacting, he’s a jerk to everyone,” or “oh, that’s just how we do things around here, you’ll get used to it” or my favorite “it’s just a joke, why are you being so sensitive?”

If only there was a way to find out if it really is about gender, rather than the person! Of course the best way to do that would be to change a person’s gender, while keeping the actual person the same, and that would be impossi….wait, maybe not.

Transmen are individuals who were assigned female sex at birth but whose gender identity aligns with men. Many transmen transition from a women’s to a men’s identity while a part of a workforce. That means this group of transmen understands what it’s like to work as both a woman and man.

So what happens? That’s exactly what Kristen Schilt asked in a 2006 study in which she interviewed 29 transmen that transitioned while working.

What did she find? Many of the men interviewed noted an increase in the amount of respect given to them during professional meetings and conversations. Some men felt their thoughts and ideas were given a sense of authority and competence that they did not experience when they were women.

Want to hear something really absurd? One man interviewed recalled a moment when his associates applauded their boss for firing a female coworker for being incompetent, and pointed out the new man hired was skillful. They did so not knowing that both people in question were the same person with the same abilities, education, and experience who had transitioned their gender.

These interviews confirm that those comments women often face in the workplace are, in fact, due to their gender. Chances are you’re not “overreacting” and if it’s the office culture, your culture might be a sexist one.

So you’re not wrong. Even if your co-workers can’t see what is going on.

Male privilege is the widespread favoring of men’s ideas, voices and personalities because they are men. Women are treated as uneducated and incompetent often by people who don’t even realize they are doing it. The result: women must constantly prove their competence.

So Really. You’re not overreacting.  This male privilege thing is ridiculous–and it’s real.  

And since someone should do it,  we just want to say we’re sorry.  It sucks that you have to work so hard to for people to see how valuable and skilled you are.