Managing Men: Who Still Live In The Past

Women know that we’re in the middle of a culture shift when it comes to the workplace. With every new female CEO, with every woman who stands up to giants like Wal-Mart and demands equal pay and promotion, with every list of companies providing paid maternity leave and flexible work schedules for new mothers, with every young woman who chooses to dedicate herself to her career and put a family and kids on hold or off the table all together… In a million ways, women are changing the corporate culture.

Unfortunately, not everyone’s ready for or accepting of these changes. I hadn’t realized just how resistant some men were until Gene Marks published a piece in Forbes titled “Why Most Women Will Never Become CEO.” Aside from it’s glaring prejudice and lack of personal responsibility, the piece highlighted that some men really don’t see a problem in participating in a flawed and unfair system. They would rather maintain an antiquated hierarchy than accept the ways in which companies are evolving.[tagbox tag="female ceos"]

Whether these men are on the right side of history or not, we still have to work with them. That’s the difficult part. So how can a woman manage a man who thinks that she shouldn’t be in charge? Here’s a few ideas.

  • You can’t be angry all the time. I’m not saying that a woman shouldn’t be frustrated with a chauvinistic employee. However, anger for them cannot ruin your life, or even your day. You have to find a way to look at this insecure mess of a man and say, “It sucks to be you.” Just remember, they’re on the losing end of this game.
  • Never question your authority. No matter what a man thinks about your position, you earned it on your own. Don’t like condescension or insubordination make you question your ability. You have to be confident in your talent.
  • Don’t bother with the heart-to-heart. Sure, a nice sit-down seems like a logical way to deal with an upset employee. But this person deals in gender stereotypes. Any attempt at rationally working through the issue will seem like a mushy-gushy cryfest to him. It will only reinforce his prejudice.
  • Try to stay above the debate. You have the truth on your side. You don’t need to prove yourself. You don’t owe this person an explanation. My dad always told me, “You can’t argue crazy.” That’s what you would be doing. You would be arguing with this person’s irrational prejudice. You can’t win that fight with logic.
  • Let your success prove them wrong. This is the fun part. The less time you spend worrying about one employee’s misogyny, the more time and effort you can direct towards following your own ambition. Women are intelligent and driven. We don’t need someone else to give us permission to succeed. You can do it all on your own.
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