Do you know what makes me so mad that I want to go “grrrr grrrr grrrrr”?
What really, really makes me mad is when women – women who are also working mothers – sabotage other women’s confidence in the workplace.
For the purposes of this rant post, let’s call these woman Alpha Female Bosses.
We’ll even give her an acronym – AFB. You can, if you wish, choose your own words for the acronym.
Absolute…F….. B….. ? I’ll leave it to your imagination.
So what’s an Alpha Female Boss? She’s the sort of boss where women utter the words:
“She’s worse than the men” (*Men – see disclaimer)
Here’s a typical profile of Alpha Female Boss:
- She has reached a very senior position at work and she is probably pretty good at her job. Also likely to be very intelligent.
- Emotional Intelligence? Ain’t happenin’
- She went back to work after 4 weeks maternity leave and she doesn’t know what all the fuss is about
- She is likely to snort with derision at the concept of flexible working, maternity leave or working from home (or any of that other “non-committed” nonsense)
- She’s open all hours. To quote another of my clients, “she’s always proving herself with long hours, emailing at midnight and weekend”. For AFB, work-life balance is for wimps
- She’s been known to say: “You’re good at what you do, but you’ve got to decide whether you’re serious about your work or whether you’re on the mommy track
You might wonder what’s prompted this diatribe. Well, each week I do a mental recap of my week and think about what has stood out for me that might be useful to share with you in Friday Fives.
This past week, two new clients have told me about their own AFBs and I received an email from another about her own AFB.
I’m not knocking these women for their career or their lifestyle choices. That ain’t my bag. Nor is this post a discussion on whether women can “have it all” or whether they have to choose one or t’other – family or career.
However, I believe, like Madeleine Allbright, that;
“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women”
And quite frankly, I’m fed up with hearing stories from my smart, competent working mum clients about AFBs driving them out of their careers. I’m sick of hearing that their confidence is suffering because of another woman.
I’m sure there are good reasons for AFB’s behaviour and that she may not, in many cases, even regard herself as an AFB. Notwithstanding this, my purpose here is to support you in dealing with AFB, NOT to unravel and understand the psyche of AFB.
So that is why this Friday Fives is simply a sharp, brazen call to action to any woman who has suffered at the hands of an AFB. What I want for you is to feel good about yourself, to excel in your career and to feel good about your choices.
Here are 7 ideas to put in your Anti-AFB Arsenal:
- DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT let AFB bully you
You must NOT let anyone bully you – at work or anywhere else. Don’t let AFB bully you out of your own choices, your own values or your own happiness.
- Do whatever you need to do to remind yourself how smart, capable and talented you are.
Get your friends and your loved ones to tell you just how flippin’ great you are. You need to counteract the negative vibes of AFB with lots of positive strokes. We all need these – acknowledgement is important for all human beings. If you have an AFB, this acknowledgement becomes important AND urgent.
- Do the 90 Today Exercise
Ask yourself what you will look back at as important in your life when you are 90 years old. I’m kind of guessing it won’t be AFB. This is an essential question to ask yourself – it’s one of those life changing questions because it gets you to tune into your values , i.e. what’s really important to YOU (not her).
- Stop trying to please AFB
Don’t let your relationship with AFB become the workplace equivalent of an abusive relationship, where you put up with cr*p and try in vain to please the abuser.One of my lovely, smart, sassy clients said to me:“I don’t know why, but I want her approval”Don’t waste your time, your energy or your life trying to get the approval of AFB. This isn’t the relationship you’ll look back on feeling glad you nurtured when you’re 90.
- Connect with your posse
Enlist support from others. You don’t have to do this alone. In fact you should not do this alone.
- Get the hell out of Dodge
Half of me is disappointed to be offering you this as advice, the other half of me feels excited as I know many of my clients harbour a secret ambition to do your own thing or work with someone who they really click with.
- Accept the things you can’t change and change the things you can
“It’s all about what you choose for your life not what others would choose. You can only control your own emotions, thoughts and behaviours, not those of others”.[Thank you to GS - who I have quoted verbatim - for reminding me of this last very important point.]
Who Ya Gonna Call? AFB Busters!
If you want a Professional Coach who will support you, kick you up the backside, give you a virtual hug and get you back in your confidence groove, you know who to call! In fact, you can schedule a chemistry call with AFB-Busters right now through our online calendar!
Once you’ve booked a time, I’ll be in touch via email with information about how I work with my clients and a mini questionnaire…. And we’ll take it from there! Click here to book your chemistry call.
I would love to hear your comments, experiences and tips for dealing with AFB (or indeed, ANY unsupportive boss). Post them below please!
*This isn’t a diatribe against men, just in case there are men reading this about to get their trunks in a twist. Some of my best friends are men.
Seriously though, menfolk… I, like many women, am grateful to many supportive men in my life, including my husband, my dad, some great male friends and some truly wonderful male bosses. And I have no doubt that amongst the thousands of women reading this, most of them would say the same too.