What Works for Women at Work: Answers to Common Questions – Unfriendly?
I’ve been told I’m unfriendly by superiors
I’ve been told I’m unfriendly by superiors, but I just think I take my job seriously. This is hurting my career: what do I do?
It’s an unfair truth about office politics: when women keep to themselves, they’re unfriendly; when men do it, they are just too busy taking their job seriously. This is because women are forced to walk a Tightrope, between being liked (but not respected) or respected (but not liked). Unfortunately, women are charged with the arduous and unfair task of having to be both friendly and go-getters, both communal and ambitious, and somehow not to too much of anything. It’s not easy.
The one piece of advice we received from countless women was to use “softeners” when trying to get things done: make jokes, keep your tone in mind, turn statements into questions, etc.
It may sound silly, but being intentional about how you are perceived can go a long way. Take it from these women, who used similar strategies to get ahead:
- “I’m very intentional about smiling and trying not to look like a person that is unapproachable or angry or just extraordinarily serious. “
- “I go out of my way to make small talk with people so that when I’m in a business context they don’t just see me as somebody who’s a hard driver. I ask people how their weekend was, how their kids are if they children.”
Finding a strategy that works for you is important; otherwise, you won’t stick with it. Changing your behavior may not feel natural—and it’s definitely not fair—but it will help you in the long run. Plus, wouldn’t we all have happier workplaces if everyone was intentional about being friendly to others?
Have a question? Then Ask The New Girls!