Friday, June 02, 2006

Problems with the Opposite Sex in the Workplace

The problems between the sexes are more psychological then real. If you tell someone enough times they have a problem, they will have a problem. The real problem comes when you start believing you have a problem and you take steps to counter it. The steps chosen usually create a problem.

Let me try an example. Let's say you regularly talk about your day with a co-worker. Then someone casually mentions to you with no real thought attached, "You two seem to hit it off real well." Since you have always been told that there is a problem when relating to the opposite sex, you assume that this person is subtly pointing out the fact that the two of you are getting pretty chummy and maybe there is more then meets the eye. Maybe you think the other person sees more into this relationship then you and you need to establish some distance to wart off this problem. Reality is the other person sees this as casual friendship, no relationship attached, just like you did before the word came down. You now over react and start dodging this person and making excuses not to have these conversations. The other person then gets upset by your behavior and reacts. Now we have a problem.

Simply establish personal rules and live by them. Be someone of your word and don't jump to conclusions. Test everything and dismiss most of what you hear. If you can't establish it as fact, it is hearsay and should be questioned or tossed.
I work closely with those of the opposite sex as their supervisor. I often have to work one on one. I have set rules in my life that are very apparent. People often kid me about my high moral standards. If you can stand up to the test, time and time again, there is no question. There is not a person in the company that does not recognize and respect how I conduct myself and treat others. With this high a standard, there is little to no chance of ever being put in the hot seat for any form of misconduct.
Anyone can lead this life. It does not take special equipment or training. It may require you too learn self-control and logical decision-making, but these are skills that should have been honed in your formative years. If they lack, it may be rough going until you deal with these issues. Make a list of what is and is not acceptable and abide by it. Consider issues of contact, location, leader-vs-subordinate rolls, topics and body language. If you can stick by your word and live by your standards you will gain respect and these issues will no longer be in question.


Blogger Pamela Reece said...

I came across your blog via the American Conservative blogroll. I just wanted to say that this is a fantastic post! I have my own personal creed that I live by. I am not perfect and sometimes I can be tempted. However, I can feel it and have learned when it's time to do a self-check. In the end, I think this is all expected of us as human beings. BTW...nice blog! Keep up the good work. Feel free to stop by my place sometime.

4:13 PM, June 04, 2006  

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