As female professionals continue to enter and occupy the workforce in large numbers, there are a few skills they need to develop and a few habits they must unlearn.
Perhaps, the number one habit that has to go is covert competition among women, or ‘winning’ by putting the other woman down.
Covert competition is a form of indirect aggression, which many women are prone to practice when they feel competitive with other women at work. The fact is, workplaces are competitive environments and today’s professional woman must find a way to successfully navigate the competitive feelings and actions of other women, as well as manage her own responses.
The best way to refrain from covert competition is not to react to negative competitive behavior from other women, by responding from a professional rather than personal perspective. It means rather than responding to rude remarks or sabotaging behaviour, you need to take the high road and address the professional situation that gave rise to the negative behavior.
Here are a few ways to take the high road:
Acknowledge that in any workplace you are likely to meet both friendly and unfriendly female competitors.
Do not take negative behaviour personally. Remember, whatever she is doing, spreading vicious gossip, displaying a condescending attitude, making petty remarks, says more about her than it does about you.
Try to devise a professional approach to solving any problems that arise between the two of you.
Practice being friendly toward other women at work without necessarily becoming friends; be selective about the female colleagues that you let into your inner circle. Let each woman earn your trust.