What's With HER?

Where men can ask their burning questions about women in the workplace

Gentlemen,

Have you ever had a question about women in the workplace but felt like you couldn’t ask? Ask it here! This is a judgment free zone.

I'm a man and I hate golf. I hate hunting even more but I endure these activities because it's where the clients are. Why do women feel like they are exempt from enduring these activities? I thought you ladies wanted to be equal?

This is a really fair question. We actually encourage women to find common ground with their clients. Women should make every effort to at least try to engage in the activities that their clients are most interested in. Relationship building is key to a successful career. That being said, success should be measured in productivity and key performance indicators, not on a scorecard. I know men who hate golf, so they only shoot skeet with their clients. I know men who love car shows or basketball and host clients to those events. I also (hold on to your knickers) know clients that are women. Some are interested in all of these activities. Some are interested in none of them. The key is finding a place and space to connect with your client. Surely we have moved past the point that there is only one way to connect. It’s a big great world and, with a little creativity, all of us can connect with our clients in a way that is natural and effective for all parties.

As a male manager, how do you tell a woman she needs to wear a bra at work?

This is a universal problem. Unfortunately, employees do not always exercise the best judgment when it comes to wardrobe. Confronting them is an uncomfortable task in most situations. Even more so when the infraction is sexually inappropriate and complicated. We suggest that, if possible, you engage HR personnel to address the perpetrator. If that is not an option (i.e small organization or startup), it is advisable to discuss the dress code issue with the employee with another employee present. It is embarrassing for all parties, I’m sure, but a direct approach usually resolves the problem so you can move past it to productivity.

What do I say when a female account manager tells me she is uncomfortable going to lunch with any male client alone?

First it is important to hear her out. Assess her fears and concerns. Is this about one particular client that has been inappropriate with her or just a general rule? Has she had a bad experience or is she setting an arbitrary policy? Is there a religious concern?It is important for you to protect her, first and foremost, as an employee. Now, if after that process is completed, you determine that there is no incident driving her limitation, you have to look at her productivity. Is she on par with her peers? Is she underperforming? If she is doing her job effectively and there is no impact on her performance, then you might be better advised to focus on results than tactics. If she is underperforming and unwilling to do what it takes to succeed, then you should remind her what her metrics are and continue to hold her to them.

Ask HER

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