Monday, April 18, 2011

Am I weak?

by In Transition Working Girl

I have been dying to write about this for over a week and would like to pose a question to all of you Working Girls. But first, let me set up the situation for you.

Recently, I was given the opportunity to go to lunch with two of my co-workers. The first is someone who, I think, finds a reason to yell at me on a weekly basis and the second, is the person I replaced. It was sort of an odd lunch, but the person who always yells at me thought it might be nice to get to know the "old me" since we are around the same age. It was really great, the "old me" and I hit it off right away.

After the get-to-know-you conversations, the conversation quickly turned to how my boss is non-confrontational and how the person who yells thinks being non-confrontational is a sign of weakness. I stopped in my tracks, this is why I get yelled at! This had me thinking all week, since I would rather talk through the issue, this makes me weak? What do you think?

I think that in the workplace there are many different styles of management and dealing with issues in a confrontational manner can only escalate the situation. To me the word confrontation has negative a very connotation. I would rather talk through the issue, let both people state their point of view and come to a resolution. I do understand that there are people who run from any sort of confrontation, but that does not make them weak, it just means they need to be communicated to in a different way.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

76 comments:

Kirby said...

How awful. I once heard someone talk about girls who think that in order to avoid being fake they think need to be brutally honest, but really all that makes them is rude. I think this is similar, to avoid being weak doesn't mean you should be a bully. If the only way you know how to communicate to people is to yell then you have WEAK communication skills. Nightmare.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Either my bosses yell or they collect 'evidence' of my so-called 'misdemeanors' and present this to the guy above them. How awful is that!

lisa said...

You're not weak. IMO yelling is very unprofessional, particularly if it's directed at employees you're managing.

Charcoal Renderings said...

I think diplomacy and discernment in the workplace is one of the most important ways to distinguish yourself as someone who is mature, respectful, and a generally decent and reasonable human being. Being able to put aside frustration/anger/annoyance/any rash emotions and communicate on a level plane with a level head is a sign of what it means to be an adult; yelling at people to undermine them and assert authority is a sign of an overgrown eighth grader with a God complex. Asserting yourself at work is important, so don't let anyone walk all over you, but there's no reason to sacrifice professionalism just to prove a point of who has the bigger britches (or bigger windpipes). Confront with strength and grace when it's necessary, and continue to maintain your level of class, working girl. Sounds to me like the person with the yelling problem needs to have a little confrontation of their own... about what being "professional" means.

Frugal Forties said...

Sometimes being confrontational is necessary, but being confrontational doesn't mean yelling. People who yell at subordinates are just projecting their own insecurities and inabilities.

But sometimes, as I said, being confrontational is necessary. I currently work for a boss who is so afraid of confrontation and conflict that he allows his employees (including me) to be walked all over all the time. It makes all of us less willing to take the initiative or step out beyond the scope of our job descriptions because we know that he won't have our backs in a bad situation.

In my mind, not willing to be confrontational when it's required IS a sign of weakness. It's also the sign of a bad boss. But again, confrontation does not have to mean yelling at people - and in fact, shouldn't mean yelling. It should mean standing up for yourself, your work, and your employees.

Anonymous said...

I don't think a "confrontation" has to be a negative experience for either party. I like to think of it as confronting the problem rather than turning away from it. I do think constantly turning away from problems is not the best way to handle them. So may be that does make it weak.

That being said, yelling is a sign of insecurity. Facing a problem does not mean yelling at it. It's just noise to hide insecurities. No one listens when you yell.

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Anonymous said...

THere is a difference between being prepared to confront someone and being a bully. The boss you are describing is simply a bully. You need to confront them and tell them in direct plain english what needs to stop. Also, as far as I am concerned there are not many types of management style; there is only prepared to confront or weak. The latter are a nightmare to work for and the former are few and far between.

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agree. Either my bosses yell or they collect 'evidence' of my so-called 'misdemeanors' and present this to the guy above them. How awful is that!


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