Women Who rock with Success features Attorney at Law; Ama Yawson for the month of February. Women Who Rock with Success is a networking-digital media platform for professional and entrepreneurial women.
Never t ell a fem ale colleague ?You look nice,? if you w ouldn?t say it t o a m ale colleague. ?There?s heightened sensitivity to propriety when it comes to gender relationships,? said Dattner. ?There could be subjective aspect to that. It depends on context. If a male boss tells a female subordinate that she looks good? if he does it in ways that can seem inappropriate, that could be a challenge. So the same statement uttered by different people or the same people in different context or different people in the same context can be taken very differently. But you just have to be careful,? said Dattner. Greenberg agreed that you?re better off not commenting on appearance and weight of colleagues. ?You shouldn?t say anything to a woman that you wouldn?t say to a man,? said Greenberg. When you tell a colleague, ?You look nice today,?or ?Your haircut looks nice,?you have to consider how it might be taken. Does that mean their old haircut looked terrible? Does that mean they normally don?t look nice every day? What was intentioned to be an innocent compliment can get out of hand quickly. Here?s how to get better paying clients this year. Never t ell your boss, ?It ?s not m y fault .? When your boss comes to you with a concern they have about your work, not taking responsibility is a big no-no, said Greenberg. ?When you?re blaming other people, being hostile, defensive, and not taking responsibility, it?s like you?re attacking other people on your team,? said Greenberg. This makes you look like you are a whiner, you blame others for any performance issues or problems and you don?t take constructive feedback. These are all qualities your boss will remember when it?s time to add you to bigger team projects or time for a promotion. Never act like you?re in a realit y TV show w hen you disagree w it h colleagues. It can be entertaining (and cringe-inducing) to watch chefs and restaurateurs yell at subordinates or real estate agents scream at colleagues on reality TV or call to mind those days of yesteryear when contestants undercut one another on ?The Apprentice ?Just the fact that people turn on TV watch real estate shows with people arguing with each other and kind of attacking each other because that makes TV more compelling.
So we should make sure not to mimic what we see in the public realm in the workplace. You?re not on Million Dollar Listing, ? said Dattner. Never say phrases t hat disrespect colleagues and low er-level em ployees. You know not to call people something sexist like ?Hon,? or ?Beautiful,? at work. But, some people of an older generation or baby- boomer might have referred to female colleagues as ?girls,? without meaning anything negative by it, and in their cultural and historical context that made sense, said Dattner. But, if you?re at a start-up in Brooklyn or San Francisco where everybody?s a millennial and you use the term ?girls? to refer to female employees, people may find that offensive, Dattner said. ?We all need feedback as we move from industry to industry or level to level or organization or organization or historical era to historical era or different geographies, different countries, different corporate cultures,? he said. How you speak and communicate may change in different workplace environments, so make sure you?re careful in different settings with colloquial phrases. Never com plain t o your int ern about st aff and direct report s. Don?t whine to your intern about other employees, advised Sackett. ?Good interns/ assistants are good listeners, and at times, they may be the only person that makes a boss feel heard. This can create the temptation to use them as a sounding board for venting about others in the office, and that temptation must be resisted,? Sackett said. ?Not only can they leak sensitive information, potentially leading to conflicts and grievances, but this practice also puts the intern or assistant in a terribly uncomfortable position, often causing good employees to leave.? Never t ell HR anyt hing t hat you w ant t o be kept in st rict confidence. ?That?s because HR professionals often have mandates to report or investigate certain information (like sexual harassment and discrimination),? says Jason Sackett, PCC, LCSW, CEAP, executive coach, author of Compassion@Work: Creating Workplaces that Engage the Human Spirit. ?They simply may not be prohibited from sharing information with the one person you desperately don?t want to know your story?and may not have the judgment or professionalism to keep it private,? he said. If you have any concerns about information being disclosed, consult first with someone who is bound by confidentiality laws, such as a therapist, employee assistance professional, lawyer, or clergy person,? said Sackett.