Bringin’ Out Your Game Face

stockfresh_1193356_thinking-woman-with-pen-and-notepad_sizeXSI don’t think a week goes by that I don’t receive an email, comment or tweet from a reader with this question, “How do I handle a female co-worker who undermines me?” And, maaaann, did I get a flood after last week’s “Mean Girls, Mean Women” article.

So, I’m opening the vault and re-posting an oldie but goodie that gives some more perspective to the issue.

I had an in depth coaching conversation with a seasoned member of the Moxie Squad who is gunning for a leadership position, and is kind of disillusioned by the lack of support she is getting from the female members of her team. At the heart of it, she feels personally betrayed by women that she thought were in her corner.

This is a complaint I address regularly. Here’s something that dudes are much better at – they are clear that business is business, and personal is personal. When they disagree on the job, they don’t see each other as being unsupportive or uncaring or disloyal. They can have a tough “fight” on Monday, and still hang out on Friday.

For many women, relationships with their coworkers are so imperative that they forget the importance of appropriate distance. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen relationships ruined over disagreements in the office. A lot of women just take things personally. They are truly hurt if they feel that another woman has undercut or betrayed them in some way. I’m here to boldly say that work is not about friendship. It’s about getting the job done in a professional way.

Keep in mind that your job is only a part of who you are. Your work is your work, and your life is your life. Always remember that making friends is not the primary objective of your workday. If it happens, that’s an incredible gift. If it doesn’t, so be it. Don’t force it. Or count on it. You have enough friends.

On a related note, here’s an extra piece of advice (tough love, really): don’t tell your personal troubles to everyone who will listen. Don’t discuss every mistake, real or imagined. Don’t talk about your health problems. This often makes people feel uncomfortable, yet they will not tell you. Some people may even begin to avoid you. Or talk about you behind your back.

I’m not suggesting that you be someone or something that you’re not, but I’m asking you to get your game face on. Even when the odds are against you, still try to look like you’re going to win. Particularly when the competition is intense, don’t let your anxiety show.

I know it can be difficult, but keep your inner angst to yourself or someday you may find that someone will use it against you. And that’s a tough lesson to learn.

Moxie Vote: Do you believe in drawing a clear line between personal and professional relationships? Do you wear a game face at work? Weigh in using the comments section below, and share this article with every woman you know. (Honestly not trying to busta rhyme – I guess I’m just cool like that.) xo. ~KG

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  1. I do you believe there is a need to draw a line between personal and professional relationships, in most instances. The majority of work relationships do not tumble into personal hours, and on the rare occassion that they do, they are not a true friendship. I found out the hard way, which makes wearing a game face at work a must! This directly relates to the mean girls, don’t let them know when they have you down, it will only make them more powerful. Hold your head high and diminish their feeling of power!

  2. Great advice, Janet!

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