Post # 1
Do any of you bees know what this is like or have any good advice? I’ve been promoted a couple times and I am now in a position where I need to start delegating tasks to a team. A team of men.
It’s not even JUST the male/female thing…but I am quite a bit younger and college educated too. The men who will be working for me however are well into their 40’s-50’s and have a LOT of experience. I have never acted like I am somehow better with a degree and all, I’ve let them know I still needed to learn from them.
The company I’m in just sees it as an investment to promote the young and higher educated.
Now that I’ve started delegating tasks, some take it normally, some come with a little tension and seem to be in a huff about it, but still do their work and haven’t done anything specifically harrassing or anything. But I don’t think they respect me and they joke about it quite a bit. I can take joking, I’ve been in male dominated fields/classes since I was a teenager.
I guess I just need advice on how to “command” respect without disrespecting someone 20 years my senior with like 30 years of experience at the company?
Post # 3
I have been in a male dominated field. In fact, my field is 89% male. My location has 2,000 employes and only 220 are female. I think you are making this an issue. I don’t think it ia male/female thing.
How to “command” respect? You don’t. You give respect and it will come back to you.
Post # 4
I agree with PP. Don’t make it an issue until they make it an issue. My boss is a minority race female supervisor & she even asked me before if i’ve ever had a female boss before… i’m like, uh yeah, in every job i’ve ever worked lol you’re not that special! She is on a high ass horse & micromanages and just keeps her thumb on her just because she has the power to do so. Don’t do that. You want your employees to respect you, but also to like you & enjoy coming to work everyday. Good luck 🙂
Post # 5
@theEguarantee: I also agree with PPs… you don’t TAKE respect, you earn it. Until my current job, I’ve always been the youngest and been one of the only women in management (not to mention my hair was always purple) and I never had an issue “commanding” respect because I did my job well, was transparent and didn’t play into politics. If you’re good at your job, your team will respect you. And if they don’t and your supervisors agree that the issue is the team-member, not you, then you fire them. Pretty simple.
Post # 6
My DH deals with the being younger thing a LOT.
He literally ignores it, and calls them out for any disrespect. He’s also careful about how friendly he is–he can’t be too friendly!
But he’s found that once they see how good he is at his job, that they generally accept him.
He says that his only female peer EVER gets a LOT of crap. Mostly behind her back. Which is a serious bummer!
Post # 7
@ValerieBee03: I agree with @Sunflower–girl: . Just be respectful to them and hopefully they will do the same to you.
I’m in a similar situation. I find I try not to act like a know-it-all (because I certainly don’t know it all!) and try to value the advice that others may give you. If they do have that much experience, they could have useful stuff to say. And then you take what you need from that. I find I also try to explain to others why I have to do certain tasks, or why they have to do certain tasks – I think it helps them feel like they know the bigger plan and can appreciate what they have to do.
Post # 8
Firm, fair, consistent. If you manage with those principals in mind it doesn’t matter what your gender is or if the individuals you manage are older or younger than you. I work with all men, in 9 out of 10 meetings in corporate America I am the only female at the table. I really don’t think about it, I am there because I am qualified and competent. The experience that your team has is impressive, I would encourage you to seek and hear their input but as their manager, once your decision has been made, expect them to respect it. Be clear, foster teamwork and establish quickly what your standards are and be firm about what is not acceptable. People want to understand what the rules are. Don’t try to be their friends, be their manager – a competent, fair LEADER. You will be fantastic, best wishes!
Post # 9
Thank you for your help!
Oh I completely agree. I think I worded that wrong or didn’t explain well. I definitely respect my team members, like I said I know they have a lot of experience and I can learn a lot from them.
I just feel like sometimes I take some crap for it because they’re “joking around” but it gets old. For example I just mocked up a new list of tasks and assigned specific ones to specific people. I get responses like “Who died and made you boss” (umm well, I am the boss…but I didn’t say that) and things like “we’ll have to bring flowers and candy to the performance reviews” and just general stuff like that.
They are very competent and they get done what they need to do, but the remarks CONSTANTLY are getting irritating. So I guess I don’t mean how do I “command respect” but rather how do I put a stop to the disrespectful comments?
I can take a joke and throw it back once in a while but now it really is with EVERY little thing I ask and it’s getting annoying. No body here gives their older, male supervisors crap constantly.
I know there is a large generation gap so I’m not trying to slap someone with a harrassment complaint over something harmless.
Thank you for that, I feel like that constantly goes on here. I am literally the only female in this department.
Post # 10
I just don’t want to overreact to this…nor do I want to be “too lenient”
Post # 11
Ummmm, no. If a comment were said to me like that I would respond that we all have tasks assigned to us that we wish we did not have to do. However, if you have a question or issue with something in particular, we can address it one on one. If someone said a snarky comment that I felt was inappropriate, I would absolutely tell them that directly, in person, at the time the comment was said. Everyone deserves to have an issue addressed at that time, directly to them but I would also let them know that was their one and only warning. I have found that people appreciate directness. Firm, fair, consistent.
Post # 12
You and I are in the same boat. I have been managing teams of much older, mostly male, employees for the last few years. It can be very daunting at first. I think though that the fact that you are sensitive to the fact that they might be sensitive to is shows that you are thoughful and mature, and care/want to do a good job. Keep in mind that you have been promoted to your role because you are good at what you do. Just be you – be great at what you do, hold to your standards, and relate to your employees as people. Congratulations and best of luck!
Post # 13
@Foreverblonde345: You’re right. I’ve always tried to act very proffessional so when something so *unprofessional* like that happens I get a little stunned and am not sure how to respond. I’ll try to start being more direct about what is acceptable and what is not.
Yes! When I found out about the promotion I was so intimidated. You said the same thing my SO does, that I was promoted for a reason. Thank you for that and for relating.
I want to be taken seriously as a proffessional but I don’t want to come off as a hard ass for being too sensitive over smart-ass comments.
Post # 14
I managed a bunch of men in a construction company – I think the biggest things are to be professional but have a sense of humor/don’t react to sexist comments even if they aren’t directed at you/just said in general – don’t jump in but don’t go overboard with a supersensitive reaction – but when someone does cross the line let them know it as absolutely not acceptable.
Also it helped me alot to work with a communal/collaborative attitude. I always made it clear my purpose was to work with everyone and to help them/get them what they needed. I think as a female in a male industry you have to sometimes work harder and be better at your job than a man in the same role but hey that doesn’t hurt you right? I have never been emotional at work and I know if I had been it would not be well received. I saw other girls either date guys at work, be very dramatic/emotional or dress inappropriately and all these immediately hurt them in terms of respect from the men.
I’m sure you’ll be fine, you obviously got there by being worthy of it.
Post # 15
I’ve always worked in male dominated fields and in management positions. I don’t put up with anything. And people know that. I also really respect those that work for me and I know their strengths and use them accordingly. I’m also quick to thank people, acknoweldge hard work, etc. It’s really easy to be genuine and to acknowledge someone’s contributions.
I can and do joke around with everyone (and I poke fun at myself). But an inappropriate joke never gets any reaction except a blank face. If they don’t get the laugh, its not worth saying it. I also have no problem pulling someone aside to let them know that it was inappropriate. Just that, I don’t usually need to go any further. And if they continue, then they’ll get a “That’s inappropriate” comment as soon as its out of their mouth. I have only once had to say it.
If someone asked who died and made me boss I’d flat out tell them who promoted me.
I also have been told I’m very commanding, physically. I used to tag team teach a university (2nd year) course. My co-instructor was 5’1. I’m a foot taller. When she’d be up the class would take ages to settle. A couple of times I actually stood at the room when it was her lecture. They’d shut up when I was standing there, even if I didn’t say anything.
Do you dress differently in your new role? You don’t have to over do it, just dress a bit more formal/conservative. If you look the part and set yourself up to appear like the boss in dress, behaviour, etc. they’ll be more likely to accept you as such with less bounce back.
Post # 16
@bella128: Thank you that is very helpful! 🙂