Get Your Game Face On

This past week, 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. xo. ~KG

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  1. I know what you are saying about people discussing too much of their personal life into the workplace. I work with someone who doesn’t leave anything at home! It all comes to the workplace, and it does cause people to try to avoid her. Who wants to hear about someone else’s misery? Our family motto has always been, keep it in the family. We taught our daughter that as well, She definitely keeps her personal life out of her professional career and is well respected in her field. Thank you Kelli for reminding us what we need to do in the working aspects of our lives. Sometimes we need a little kick in the butt!

  2. Right on, Diane, I definitely hear ya! Misery loves company, but the company does NOT love misery! The sad thing is, many women don’t even realize they are “that person”. I’m all for supporting a sister when she’s down, I just don’t think she should seek that support at work.

    P.S. I know (and love) your daughter *wink*, and she IS well respected in her field. Well done. xo. ~KG

  3. Oh, the many stories that I could share to emphasize how spot on this post is, Kelli! But I’ll share my own: when I was a youngster in my corporate career, I made the mistake of sharing information about the fate of another division with someone that I thought was a ‘friend.’ No surprise here – she shared it with people in the other division. The fallout from my poor judgement taught me a hard lesson about coworkers and discretion.

  4. Ouch, Lori, that’s a very tough lesson to learn! But a good lesson all the same. I think several members of the Moxie Squad have made similar mistakes in the past…myself included. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m inviting younger members of the Moxie Squad to take note. Please. Do not share information that you have access to prior to those affected. With any one. EVER. Trust me, you’ll thank Lori for it. xo. ~KG

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