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Other Women are Catty & Snide

Q. Men in business aren't our real problem, it is other women.

This is my third job in a row where the other women in the office are catty and make snide remarks and just can't stand to see another woman try hard and succeed.

Why do they insist on sabotaging me? Can't they relate to my struggle?

Dear Concerned About 'Catty and Snide,'

I am equally concerned about the lack of collaboration and collegiality amongst women in the workplace. I think it stems from several issues.

First, there are few senior positions for women, so they fight each other for them.

Second, we are not used to working together on shared projects, or in a collaborative type of environment, because our lives have not been permeated by participation in golf games, social clubs and sports teams.

Third, we have been raised in environments where engaging in competition for male attention is both required and encouraged. How can we learn to be supportive team players in this setting?

If you are facing this difficulty now with any woman/women, I would recommend strongly that you confront the behavior and challenge the woman/women to act differently - in a collaborative and supportive style.

If you demonstrate that behavior yourself, you might find them adapting to your style. Set up a women's support group at work and tackle the issue head-on.

Remember, though, that men do sabotage one another also, it is just done differently.

If you can ask for new office behaviors, challenge it when that new behavior does not occur, and finally, achieve it, you will make many women's work lives so very much better.

Keep me posted.

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Cathy Horton-Panzica

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