The facts are in: gay male bosses produce 35 to 60 percent higher levels of employee engagement, satisfaction, and morale than straight bosses.
In his book The G Quotient: Why Gay Executives Are Excelling as Leaders . . . and What Every Manager Needs to Know, USC business-school professor Kirk Snyder argues that gay bosses employ a style of personalized attention that allows high-maintenance gen Xers and Yers to maximize their performance.
Snyder says, “Gay executives tend to look at how each individual brings unique abilities, and they see their job as figuring out how best to take advantage of those skills.”
Why? It stems from their maturation period: key leadership skills like emotional intelligence and flexibility are learned early on by navigating tough social situations like high school and family circles.
When you’re at work and you’re leading a team through stressful circumstances, you tend to be the supreme and smack down your employees when something goes awry.
Sometimes, this is unnecessary. Sometimes you have to be a leader and you have to inspire and educate rather than be, well, a biatch.
Last week, Auntie Evan and Uncle David got into a full-out war between each other, and their office manager got sucked into the crossfire.
The argument started over their non-profit organization, Essay Busters, which helps inner-city kids in New York get into college.
Roberto innocently posted on his Facebook page an idea he had about choosing a different charity every month and raising money for it.
Auntie Evan read this Facebook post and went ballistic, calling Roberto up at 11pm and ranting about how much of an embarrassment it was for the executive director of one organization to talk about giving money away to others.
To Auntie Evan, it was analogous to when you’re friends with your wife on Facebook and you send out a post asking if anyone would like to have an affair.
But instead of coming down like a ton of bricks, Auntie Evan could have understood that this was a brain glitch, it wasn’t personal. Instead of getting emotional and raging, he could have explained it in a way that was educative and understanding.
Bosses make mistakes too. Even in a position of power, there are consequences of raging on your employees; when employees give a lot to an organization and they don’t feel respected, it makes them want to pull back.
We are excited that Fleetwood Mac is getting back together. But that’s not why vocalist Christine McVie is our hire of the week.
McVie retired in 1998, and she’s been holding on to her retirement. But she decided to let go of her ego and get back with Fleetwood Mac without worrying if it will make her look like she’s going backwards.
She was passionate, and we should all take a cue. If you have too much pride to take up a certain job—say one you resigned from a while ago—drop the ego and focus on the passion.
It’s not too late to send out thank you notes to boss and co-workers. If somebody gave you a gift at work, or they hosted a party, an email is not enough. Send out a thank you letter—even if it’s two or three weeks late. People who really want to stand out at work lick envelopes, not keyboards.
If you’ve already sent the email, follow it up with a card. Here’s the script:
Thank you so much for the gift/party. Here’s to a great new year!
That’s all you have to write. If you’d like, mention the gift that you received. It’s not that hard. You don’t even need any valedictions—no bests or loves or anything. Just your name.
There’s been a lot of coverage of 13-year-old Jahi McMath, who was declared brain dead in December. The controversy arose when Jahi’s mother, Nailah Winkfield started a legal battle to keep Jahi’s breathing apparatus in operation even after she was declared legally dead.
Whether the family should keep her alive or not is not a topic for this article. We’re more focused on the extended family gathered around by Jahi and her parents in news reports. It’s been the same group of people for the past few weeks.
It’s admirable that they’re supporting her. But we can’t help but wonder what these family members do for a living that allows them all this time off. We’re also wondering the position their co-workers and supervisors are put it. Everybody’s going, “OK, we feel really bad for you,” but after some time this begins to shift. We all know this because we’ve experienced it before; the sick relative you have visit or the kid athlete you have to support during meets.
Eventually co-workers start asking, “Where is cousin McMath? Why isn’t he here? Why am I doing his job?” Everybody wants to be supportive, but eventually people stop cheering.
If in a few more weeks the extended family is still on TV, there’s not going to be just one angry, insensitive a-hole on the job—there’s going to be a group of resentful co-workers who are secretly hating that they have to pick up the slack.
The bosses of the extended family members hired them for a reason: to fill a gap in the company. When they’re not on the job, other employees must fill that gap.
At some point, support turns into resentment. They’re tired of you being sick all the time, they’re tired of you being at your son’s events every week. For a little while, they wanted to support you. But now they’re not even talking about it.
In the case of Jahi’s parents, we understand the need to be by her side. But there is another type of person out there, and some of you know who you are: the tragedy/family junkie.
Tragedy/family junkies are easy to spot. They’re the people who need to take a day off to grieve over a train derailment, or attend their kid’s track meet every time. These people are really good at making people feel guilty for not supporting them.
What you don’t realize when you fall into this mind frame is you’re accreting gradual resentment; co-workers will start to ask themselves why they can’t see their ill mother or their daughter’s game. The boss wants to avoid this collective attitude at all costs, and that means eventually firing you if things continue the way they’re going.
There are other ways to give back to people. It’s great to be supportive and attend your kid’s meets, but it’s just as great to be a role model by going to work and getting promoted. If you’re the guy who’s constantly leaving early, you’re not displaying yourself as an exemplar, but someone who lacks leadership qualities and work commitment.
When you do fall into a situation where you have to be there for someone, you can still check in on work. Sitting and staring at the individual is a martyr game: it doesn’t get you anywhere.
You can be present at the bedside while being present on the job with FaceTime or Skype or whatever. This goes for the inverse as well. The McMath extended family can be present at work and, at intervals, check in on Jahi.
Stop playing the tragedy/family junkie card on the job. Co-worker resentment will only be followed by a docked pay or, worse yet, the boot.
Unless you’ve been shriveling under a rock, you know Megan Kelly’s story. The gist is, she said something stupid about Santa being white and that people should deal with it, which, of course, created a firestrorm. She tried to mitigate the situation by saying she was just kidding.
What she should have done—and you can apply this directly to your job—was apologize. By saying she was joking, she was effectively telling her audience: “YOU are the problem because you didn’t understand my joke.”
Lying on the job to get out of trouble just makes you look like an untrustworthy fool.
Friedrich Nietzsche put it quite nicely: “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
Last week, Beyoncé got the world in an uproar by releasing her new album. She did it without any marketing, any fanfare or any promotions on iTunes. The ballsy move has redefined the music world and launched a thousand round table discussions about girl power. Everybody is dissecting girl power.
Somebody on the Melissa Harris-Perry’s show said that it launched a thousand women’s studies papers. We saw the show. All the women were high-fiving each other while the male pundits just sat there.
All these guys are thinking is, “I have to check myself now, make sure I don’t say something so offensive it gets me in trouble.”
We’re all about woman at Job Talk. Girl power is awesome, but that’s last week’s expression. Women have been victims of prejudice for hundreds of years. We get it. We’re not denying that.
What’s happening in offices is that men are scared to talk freely in front of women. We’re not doing the, “Oh, poor men” bit here. The bottom line is, men feel scared and emasculated. Of course, women should not change the way they operate to keep men from being held back and anxious. Here’s an example of our point:
A month ago, Auntie Evan was sitting in a meeting in a school where his organization helps get underprivileged kids into college. It was Auntie Evan and eight women around the table. Normally, Auntie Evan is highly integrated in this sort of settings. They’re all brainstorming how to make a better college-bound program, and Auntie Evan is jumping in with all these ideas. And then someone says: “Evan, calm down, let other people speak, you’re overdoing it.” Auntie Evan wasn’t not calm, he was just passionate. So he watched all the women brainstorm as he sat shut out.
And when Auntie Evan saw the Melissa Harris-Perry show, he felt the same way. He felt that if he or any of the guys on the show would open his mouth, they’d get in trouble or get shut down.
We acknowledge the power of women and their ability to be heard. But the way this conversation is going now, the victim is victimizing. This is hard to deny and it is what it is. Girls should not minimize themselves so the “poor, little boys” can have their egos built up. That’s ridiculous, and this is not what we’re saying.
We’re saying we need to start a new conversation, and get powerful in a wholly different way. Men and women see the world differently. Women believe in growing the pie: they can get more power and men can keep having power. But men see the world in zero sum: when something gets added, something else must get taken away. Thus men feel diminished.
But there is a way to lift this layer of binarism and have people power. We’re going to tell you how to be heard as a man, how to get promoted without offending, and how to live in a woman’s world.
Usually, there are two ways men go when they’re in a female-dominated office with a female boss: they wither get angry and bitter and tell themselves that she got to that position just because she’s a woman, or they have the male wimp syndrome and are afraid to say anything. Neither of these will get you promoted. You don’t have to be the angry guy or the wimpy guy.
There are a few things guys can do to keep their part of the power and be a man in a woman’s world. It’s not an us or them situation anymore. It is not a zero sum game were if they win you lose, where the winner takes all. This goes for both sides. Here are a few steps to reach a people power threshold:
Stop the winner-takes-all mentality and start thinking in the team-takes-all mindset. The rising tide causes all boats to rise. Consider the team and how to make it better. When you do this, you’ll be noticed as the go-to person. A female boss will be looking at a male job candidate to see if he’s team oriented and not just looking out for himself. (Any boss is looking for this quality.)
Be solution oriented. Don’t just talk about the problems. There’s paint chipping on the wall, what do most people do? They complain that the paint’s chipping. Solution-oriented employees figure out who’s going to get the paint, who’s going to get the brush, who’s going to fix the chip. They create a team atmosphere. Don’t complain, do. This is what makes you into a leader.
Like a scholar athlete, you must have both brains and brawn. The straight-A jock. Guys should reveal their scholar side, not just jump into a conversation and take it over. It’s not high school anymore—the high school star quarterback is not king anymore.
You win when everybody wins. This has been proven countless times. This is the reality in a girl-power world. You must be team oriented, not self-oriented.
We all have power; power in life and power on the job. Let’s focus on people power.
Your company’s holiday party is a fantastic opportunity to reveal yourself as a company leader. So what’s up with skipping out on it? Are you on crack?
It’s not just an opportunity to dine on the company’s dime. Your boss is looking at you. They’re checking the list twice—who’s coming and who’s not.
As bosses, Auntie Evan and Uncle David want to know that you’re there for them. That means not sending an email 30 minutes before the party to cancel.
Utilize the holiday party to show your boss that you’re a leader who deserves a promotion.
If you’re new at a company, the holiday party is a great place to grow your presence and get yourself out there. By not showing up, you blow the opportunity.
And don’t send an email that you’re not going—that’s the coward’s way out. At least call. Don’t rationalize it by figuring everyone’s too busy setting up the party to receive the call. If something truly does come up last minute, call in, don’t email, and say you f-ed up.
A holiday party is a marketing opportunity, not just a chance to get drunk. You meet potential clients and show your boss your commitment to the company.
And guess what: If you miss the party, or cancel last minute, you’re showing your boss that this is a recurring problem in your job and in your life. Not good.
It doesn’t matter if you’re 1099 or W2—the company is still going out of its way to make sure you’re making a living. When you don’t show up, you’re making a choice. You’re putting the company second.
And if you’re working at a small business, realize that the owners are struggling to make everything work. Think about how to make your company more money so you can get more money.
When you get a chance to attend the holiday party, don’t blow it off, use it to your advantage and show your boss that you’re there for the company.
Chad Pregracke is a clean water advocate. He has his own organization called Living Lands and Waters, where he organizes people to clean all the garbage on the riverbanks of the Mississippi River and other big rivers in America.
He’s gotten 70,000 people to pitch in.
What we loved about this guy is what he said on a CNN interview: “The garbage got into the water one piece at a time, and that’s the only way it’s going to come out.”
This is the attitude of a leader. Solutions happen one step at a time—this is how you really take your career by the reins.
Stop being the guy who thinks the problem is too big to handle, and start telling yourself, “You know what, I can fix this. It might take a lot of time and a lot of steps, but I can do it piece by piece.”
We keep hearing stories of bullying at work, and our first reaction is “oh brother, here we go again.”
We are outraged at all the bullying drama going on with the Miami Dolphins. In case you’ve been living on another planet, here’s the scoop: One of the players, Jonathan Martin, actually quit the team because he said he was being bullied by another play, Richie Incognito.
We’ve heard the tape.
We’ve heard what Incognito said, and no doubt at first we were taken aback when Incognito dropped the N-bomb, and talked about killing Martin and all that crazy stuff. We had our pitchforks on hand, but then it dawned on us.
It started coming out from Martin and Incognito’s teammates that these guys were buddies. This sort of “abuse,” this “bullying” was just typical locker room culture. Nevertheless, there was something wrong with this situation.
Look, if you let every comment about you affect your work, you’re not going to have a career. People are getting too sensitive, and no one’s going to want to work with you if you’re the office crybaby.
That said, we know there’s a thin line between what’s part of the culture and what’s stepping too far. We’re here to find that happy medium.
We love having a fun office environment where you can tease your co-workers in jest and get up in everybody’s grill, but you can’t do this from day 1 and start going at them when they don’t even know the landscape. You’re putting them into a threatening position right away.
The Workplace Bullying Institute defines workplace bullying as recurring workplace mistreatment that is detrimental to an employee’s health. There are three types of bullying, according to the WBI: verbal abuse, which is obvious; offensive conduct, which is intimidating or humiliating an employee; and finally, work interference or sabotage, where you obstruct someone’s ability to complete work.
Verbal abuse and sabotage, we believe, are both clear cut. But offensive conduct is too broad and too vague. This is where you can end up really hurting your career and getting a bad reputation in the office.
Our issue is that due to unclear wording, a license is granted to the crybabies and control freaks who use it to, in a weird way, bully and control their co-workers. These are the people who are going straight to HR and gossiping and trying to destroy their co-workers’ reputations.
Steps need to be taken to insure that you don’t end up being the bully yourself and ruining someone’s career because you feel “offended,” as well as recognizing when you have the grounds to take action.
1) First, go up to the perceived aggressor and kindly tell them that what they’re doing is bothering you. Privately.
2) If it keeps happening and they just don’t get the message, then there’s a problem. Let’s say you have an issue with a co-worker having an offensive ringtone. If it goes off accidentally, or the employee simply forgets to change it, that’s not bullying. If it’s purposely played over and over, then you have grounds for taking action.
3) If you realize that you’re being bullied, first thing to keep in mind is that you should NOT quit. Quitting will make it easier for your boss to deny you benefits that you’re due, and it will make it easier for the office to make a case against you if you wish to bring the issue to court.
4) Don’t quit until you handle the situation from within. Document everything. Write down names, times, dates and exact phrases being used. This is how you protect yourself. If you need really need to take this to court (and this is something you need to think through very thoroughly), remember that you have only 300 days to file a charge under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Don’t wait two years.
You don’t want to become the employee who everybody’s afraid to joke around. But you should also recognize when your co-workers are going too far. It’s a thin line, and it’s hard to see, but it can be the difference between justifiable action and a ruined reputation.