example, you believe that someone is making negative
comments about the work you have done, and you
may perceive this as a threat when, in fact, the issue
under discussion may be the fact that the guidelines
were unclear or an external vendor made a mistake.
Understanding the underlying issue will dissolve the anger building within you and you can then contribute to
the resolution. These types of issues appear regularly
in a Quality Control discussion as underwriters feel
attacked by quality analysts when they identify problems in the files they reviewed. The issue, in fact, may
be that underwriting as whole needs to change or that
technology fixes are needed and working together may
result in resolving the problem for everyone.
When the situation does cause legitimate anger,
it is important the response is appropriate. Recom-
mendations for addressing and legitimizing this anger
include discussing the issue in a firm but gentle voice
(no shouting) or couching the issues in terms of
“perception check” such as saying, “Do I understand
the issue correctly?” When all else fails a woman may
have to decide that the work environment where
unacceptable angry behavior is acceptable is not for
her and find a new position. If this is impossible due
to other considerations, she may have to inoculate
herself from these situations by ignoring the actions
and focus only on the underlying issues.
Regardless, women, in order to overcome the
negative connotations associated with “angry women,”
have to be conscious of what they respond to and
how they respond. The woman in the original example may have to just take time to speak to her boss
privately and tell him how his comments affected her
rather than reacting in a way that puts her boss in a
poor light. It appears that handling anger is just one
more thing women have to teach men.
Becky Walzak is the owner of RJB Walzak consulting,
which is a firm that specializes in compliance and operations consulting. Becky can be reach at: becky@rjbwalzak.
com, or you can visit her website at www.rjbwalzak.com
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