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DO YOU WORK WITH A MEAN GIRL?
A woman’s field guide to the new frontier of professional development—working with other women
Women-to-women relationships in the workplace are . . . complicated. When they’re good, they’re great. But when they’re bad, they can ruin your day, your week—even your year.
Packed with proven advice from two of today’s leading experts in workplace relationships, this one-of-a-kind guide gives women the tools they need to navigate difficult situations unique to women-to-women relationships—whether with a boss, a colleague, a client, or an employee.
Have you dealt with a woman in the workplace who:
Mean Girls at Work isn’t just about surviving difficult situations. It’s about transforming a toxic relationship into one that benefits and supports both of you.
This book is also for women who engage in mean behavior . . . but don’t know it. After all, who hasn’t gossiped about a female coworker? Who hasn’t rolled her eyes in the presence of a woman she doesn’t like? Who hasn’t scanned another woman head to toe—which is just a nonverbal way of saying, “You’ve just been judged”? The authors provide invaluable advice to the more subtle ways of being mean—even if they’re not intended.
With a workforce composed of a higher percentage of women than ever, workplace dynamics have changed. Crowley and Elster cover every conceivable scenario, providing critical advice on how to rise above the fray and move forward professionally.
Mean Girls at Work is your map to dodging the mines and moving forward in today’s transformed workplace.
Praise for Mean Girls at Work
“An invaluable suit of armor for surviving nine to five!”
—Leil Lowndes, bestselling author of How to Talk to Anyone
“If you think the emotional cruelty of comedies like Mean Girls and Heathers doesn’t exist in the real world workplace, think again. In Mean Girls at Work, Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster valuably chronicle female vs. female predators and offer solid defensive strategies.”
—Ann Kreamer, author of It’s Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace
“Whether you are in your twenties and just starting your professional career, your midcareer forties, when you are supposed to have figured it out already, or a woman in her fifties or sixties who’s seen it all—this book is a must-read. . . . The authors have finally given women the tools and the sound advice necessary to deal with . . . conflicts that keep us all from succeeding. . . . Carry this book with you to work every day!”
—Carolyn Cassin, President, Michigan Women’s Foundation
“A must-read for women of all ages in today’s workforce. This book offers what we all need to develop the capacities to endure this ever-changing workplace. We know it is all about relationships and you need the skills outlined in this book to survive and thrive when the Mean Girls attack.”
—Kim Harrington, Coordinator, Professional Development and Training, Office of Human Resources, California State University, Sacramento
Ten Tips for Winning with Mean Girls at Work
Have you encountered a mean girl at work? A mean girl could be someone who seems jealous of your accomplishments, a woman who excludes you from important meetings, a female colleague who puts you down in public, or just someone whose poor work habits constantly get you into trouble. What ever her behavior is, it sets you off – leaving you feeling upset and unable to be your best professional self. Dealing with another woman’s cold or unkind behavior can be challenging, but you don’t have to be held hostage by it. Here are ten tips for WINNING with any mean girl at work:
1. Don’t take her bait – When a mean girl attacks, she’s looking for a reaction from you. If she attacks you in a meeting, she’ll want to see you angry or crying or otherwise upset. Getting a reaction from you gratifies the mean side of her.
2. Don’t believe that what she says is true – This rule is especially important when dealing with a mean girl who likes to gossip and spread rumors. If she comes to you with gossip, don’t get drawn in.
3. Don’t engage in negative speak about her –Why? Because you’re fueling the power struggle between the two of you. And you may end up looking like the pettier person.
4. Be friendly without being friends –If you discover that one of your colleagues acts in ways you don’t like, you don’t have to shut her out. Rather, you can maintain a cordial relationship with her where you only discuss the work at hand.
5. Aim for professional behavior at all times – We call this taking the High Road. Acting professional towards all women in your workplace – regardless of how you feel about them – is a key component of “winning” with mean girls.
6. Keep communication short and to the point –Aim for short, focused interactions with this woman where you only discuss essential work-related topics. Think, ‘Proper inter-office communication – no more, no less.”
7. Find a safe person to confide in – It’s best to find a confidante outside of the office setting who can hear your story and offer solid advice.
8. Don’t roll your eyes when she speaks –Rolling your eyes conveys impatience and irritation with what the other woman is saying. Check yourself to make sure you don’t do that or engage in other forms of non-verbal attacking.
9. Don’t avoid her – In an attempt to limit your exposure to the mean girl’s barbs, you may want to hide whenever you see her or find ways to minimize any contact with her. But if you avoid her, she’ll know that you fear her – and that puts you in a more vulnerable position.
10. Don’t take anything she says or does personally – this is the ultimate lesson when dealing with a mean girl. Whatever she’s doing, it’s not about you – even though her taunts have your name on them. Mean girls generally have poor self-esteem and are easily threatened. You aren’t the first person she’s mean to, and you won’t be the last.