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Tips for avoiding the “bitchy boss” label

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HC Online | 29 Jul 2014, 11:13 AM Agree 0
Female workplace leaders sometimes find themselves tagged as 'bitchy bosses', especially if they’re high-achievers. Lawrence Polsky, managing partner at consulting firm PeopleNRG, shares his strategies for ditching the 'bitch' epithet.
  • Rachael Gulliver | 29 Jul 2014, 12:53 PM Agree 0
    These strategies are quite useful tips, however why are they directed only at women? Many men have the same issues and they aren't perceived as bitchy or aggressive -and that is the main issue here. Especially situation number 5 - why does Paula need to be the one to change her approach? Sounds to me like the entire management team needs to shape up.

    Where is the survey on aggressive male bosses in comparison? This article makes me realise how far we still have to go for men and women to be seen as equals in the workplace. Perhaps Lawrence Polsky should be redirecting his coaching to men as well?
  • Judi Anderson | 29 Jul 2014, 01:19 PM Agree 0
    This reverse bullying is called "mobbing". A few years ago Griffith Uni researcher Linda Shallcross wrote about it. "Workplace mobbing is defined as a malicious attempt to force a person out of the workplace through unjustified accusations, humiliation, general harassment, emotional abuse, and/or terror. Whereas bullying primarily refers to "individual harassment", mobbing refers to situations of subtle and less direct "collective harassment"." Victims are usually enthusiastic, committed, high achievers who want to introduce change to apathetic, resistant, passive aggressive groups.
  • Catherine Cahill | 29 Jul 2014, 02:43 PM Agree 0
    I don't think we need to resurrect a term that has been used to denigrate women for being assertive. If the behaviour is Bullying - let's just call it that - no need to attach a gender or a stereotype
  • Catherine Cahill | 29 Jul 2014, 02:56 PM Agree 0
    On the advice that potentially "bitchy" women should "reduce the impression that you are overly aggressive" by talking "side to side". Research by Steve Biddulph indicates Men and Boys are more likely to open up if you talk side by side - and preferably whilst doing an activity (walking, driving). Women, prefer eye contact - no matter what the circumstances.

    Another generalisation - but please don't assume that the male way is always the right way!!
  • Lesley Maclou | 29 Jul 2014, 04:28 PM Agree 0
    I don't understand why HC is publishing articles like this. As a senior female with many years experience in the HR and IR law space, I don't find this helpful at all to target these issues by gender, and its written by a male! It also does not address the core problems that are universal regardless of gender. The core issues relate to a need to address cultural attitudes not for women to 'become' like men. I am disappointed in HC. This is not positive industry interaction in my opinion and presupposes that every women leader has been called 'bitchy' actually is as opposed to my experience with many women I have worked with and helped - that it is a tag used more often inappropriately
  • Catherine Cahill | 30 Jul 2014, 09:49 AM Agree 0
    Well said, Lesley
  • Melissa Pendreigh | 30 Jul 2014, 01:58 PM Agree 0
    Appalling sexism masquerading as a HR topic. I agree with Lesley, we'll said. I think an apology from HC is warranted.
  • Julie Cross | 30 Jul 2014, 02:48 PM Agree 0
    I appreciate the comment on "mobbing" I worked for a large Australian publicly listed company that used (and still uses) the mobbing technique to eliminate employees.

    Worse still, it is perpetuated by very senior management, who openly recommend it to chosen others as a method of getting rid of an employee (whether they be "troublesome", "ineffective" or simply "in the way for your chosen career path")

    It is a much more difficult type of bullying to manage and eliminate because of the psychology behind it ...

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