After a short Thanksgiving week and my vacation before that, this week has been extremely long. A lot of different projects for work, a few important meetings and my mind feels a tad scattered. I haven’t had time to really get into the holiday spirit, but my sister and I are going to get our tree tonight and decorate the apartment which should help. I have also been looking for a little holiday pinspiration this week – all the upcoming parties and festivities are a good excuse to try something new! Here are a few of the things on my radar this week:
A good friend of mine recently sent me an interesting article I think worth sharing. It talks about how to deal with the different types of mean girls you may have in your office. Luckily where I work, I can’t say I’ve had many mean girl encounters, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a common problem others are dealing with – especially since a majority of public relations professionals seem to be female.
Are women in the office really meaner than the men? As workplace relationship experts (and women), my colleague Kathi Elster and I wanted to uncover whether the “mean girl” label was just another toxic stereotype, an example of women being judged more harshly than men for the same bullying behavior.
We interviewed more than a hundred female workers in 20 different industries. And we examined a wide range of research about women’s behavior both in and out of the workplace. Our conclusion? The answer to the question of whether women are really meaner than men at work is both “no” and “yes.”
A Difference In How ‘Meanness’ Is Expressed
Both men and women are very capable of unkind behavior. Men can be nasty to each other — and women, but their meanness is usually expressed overtly. A male colleague might lash out verbally, or even physically. While this conduct is hardly acceptable, it is easy to identify and can be addressed directly.
Women, on the other hand, are more likely than men to compete (and fight) in more covert, subtle and indirect ways. According to research, women are conditioned to “tend and befriend,” while personal ambition stirs them to compete for recognition. So a female colleague may be nice to a coworker but then cut her out of a project or roll her eyes when the person speaks. And in surveys, women say that women are meaner to and more competitive with other women at work.
But it’s all done somewhat covertly and indirectly. Because that aggression — or meanness — is harder to identify, we decided to convert the findings from our research and interviews into six categories of possible mean behavior that one woman might experience from another woman at work.
Women Who Feel Threatened By Other Women
These three types of women put others down so as to protect and reinforce their sense of power.
“Meanest of the mean:” You’ve heard of the ‘Ice Princess’? This woman is hostile toward most women because she views them as adversaries. She is unable to feel compassion and incapable of trust.
“Very Mean:” This is the more “classic” mean girl – tough on the outside, insecure on the inside. She can be a vicious gossip or condescending.
“Passively Mean:” She is nice on the outside but competitive on the inside. She will be most indirect in her aggression, leaving you out of emails, not giving you crucial information, or cutting you out of projects.
Women Who Are Unintentionally Mean
The second category of women don’t intend to hurt others — but they do. They fall into three categories:
“Doesn’t Mean To Hurt Others:” She can be chronically late or use health problems for attention and sympathy; what the behavior has in common is it wreaks havoc on coworkers’ lives.
“Doesn’t Know She Is Mean:” This woman intends to help, but her feedback is harsh and abrasive. She also can offer unsolicited advice, critiquing your appearance or just bossing you around.
“Brings Out Your Mean:” This woman is emotionally needy. She is an incessant talker, or just asks way too many questions. Her demand for attention and support triggers your mean behavior.
So How Should You Respond?
Despite the different forms of meanness, there are some strategies that can help:
Never counterattack. No matter what the other woman does or says, don’t roll your eyes at her, or badmouth her. Counter-attacking exacerbates the situation and locks you in a power struggle.
Let the anger go. Whether you need to release your negative feelings through exercise, or talk about the mean girl to a trusted friend or advisor outside of work, find a way to neutralize your experience and let go of the toxins.
Don’t make it personal; keep it professional. Respond in a way that addresses the work issue. If a female co-worker cuts you out of an important meeting, for instance, instead of yelling at her for excluding you, or shutting her out, approach her and say “it may not have been your intention to leave me out of this meeting but in the future please remember to include me.”
The goal in handling any “mean” situation is to address the situation, but keeps you out of a power struggle. When in doubt, take the high road.
Have you encountered mean girls in your office? How did you handle the situation?
Written by Katherine Crowley, a Harvard-trained psychotherapist, is co-author of Mean Girls at Work – How to Stay Professional When Things Get Personal. Article originally posted on AOL.com. Image via.
As I mentioned Monday, it can be hard focusing at work around the holidays. There are so many gifts to purchase, outfits to find and best of all, seeing the cities Christmas sites. The month of December is the best month to act like a tourist so here is my bucket list of what to in the city starting in next month.
Visit Rockefeller Center (tree lighting tonight!)
Dress up for Santacon on December 15 (M and I love this)
Eat at Rolf’s in Gramercy known for its decorations
Tour Macy’s Santaland in Herald Square
Browse the windows at Saks Fifth Ave (and shop inside)
A couple weeks ago, A wrote about some of the stereotypes of a PR girl. It got me thinking about all the different personalities you can find in the PR industry. While everyone is different and unique, there are certain “personalities” that follow each sector of public relations. Below I’ve outlined some of what we’ve seen, but please feel free to edit and share your own thoughts on some of our infamous qualities as PR girls:
*DISCLAIMER* nyc PR girls are well aware that the below are amusing stereotypes of the “PR Girl” and would like to celebrate them rather than shame them. PR girls and boys get down and dirty, work their butts off, and deserve all the praise they receive in the industry. But each of us, no matter our concentration, is a little glamorous too.
The Celebrity/Event PR Girl
Always the busybody, this PR girl not only knows where all the good parties are, she’s probably hosting them. She is usually attached to her phone more than normal, but is keen on remembering names and making connections. If you have an issue, she knows someone who can be here in five minutes to fix it
PROS: Always meeting new people, experiences dining and nightlife through work, can quickly grow in her field
CONS: Needs to stay on top of celebrity news for her job (aka gossip is her news), late nights, too many events to count
The Finance or Healthcare PR Girl
The most “ER” of the “PR,” Finance and Healthcare PR are for the girls who would like to combine their passion with a company looking to change the world
PROS: A real purpose to the PR, helping people, learning more about the businesses that drive the economy
CONS: Late nights, needy clients, emergencies at the drop of a hat
The Beauty/Fashion PR Girl
The trends of the moment are this PR girl’s day to day. She is the one her friends come to for fashion or beauty advice, and she always has a new product she’s trying out or a bold look she’s testing at a party. All women’s books are her bible, and she makes best friends with anyone she can in the industry
PROS: Always has the latest and greatest, able to share products and tips with family and friends, get’s a sneak peek at how editorial really works
CONS: Addicted to Twitter, always running around for editors or clients, not saving the world
The Sports PR Girl
She may be a girly girl, but the Sports PR Girl knows her way around the field. She is able to rattle off athletic stats and research information on sports teams, sports brands and products like none other. She is potentially the most popular among men of all the PR Girls
PROS: Meeting athletes, learning more about health/fitness/sports, keeping up with exciting games
CONS: Sports media is a crowded space, working with the boys, everyone expects event tickets (ha!)