Note from Darlene: We all have days when we don’t give our big boobs a second thought, and sometimes Tina’s corporate report will reflect this. Today, Tina reflects on one aspect of what it means to be a woman in her field, regardless of bra size.
I had an interesting discussion with my work team’s senior project manager where he and I discussed how being a woman can actually work for you in change management. This topic was raised at a lunch discussion when we noticed that the people on our project who most successfully handle management level change resistance are pretty much all women, myself included.
This is also a cultural thing and doesn’t work in the same way in all countries (possibly not in many Asian cultures where losing face is a huge deal), but in many western cultures it does.
Change resistance is a natural phenomenon when there are big changes at ones workplace and even the top management can get very difficult over accepting the change. In Finland we do not have much hierarchy in workplaces, but there’s still some good old fashioned shouting culture present among the management–older men, that is–plus the ones who learned from them.
But all of those men have wives and daughters (okay, maybe not all, but as a generalization). On top of that, it’s common these days that women work in high positions even in male-dominated fields like Supply Chain or IT, at least in my home country. So there’s no Mad Men type of thinking present in workplaces anymore, nor has there been for a few decades.
Even the leaders are all just normal people with families, and I suppose many men have learned that sometimes it’s just better to give in and agree with the women in their lives. In deep change resistance where they have dug their heels in and refuse to budge, a smiling woman who just sighs at shouting and asks whether you are done with shouting and could we move on with the agenda as we’re not making progress here can be . . . disarming.
She calmly explains the change over and over again as many times as is required, but if all else fails she will flash the HQ card saying that, well, we’re not really asking you to approve this, but it would go more smoothly if we’d get you on board. All with firm calmness and a smile.
Perhaps it’s less face-losing to change one’s mind and give in when it’s not to a career hungry man but instead a tough but soft woman. They won’t change their minds quietly or easily, but it seems that surrendering to a woman in the face of defeat might be a little easier to swallow than it would be to a male.
Of course there are sometimes those people who just shout and don’t listen to, well, anyone.