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Difficulty being "tough"

Posted by on Apr. 17, 2013 at 6:16 PM
  • 13 Replies

I'm leading a MASSIVE project that is the #1 division priority right now.  I have a lot of different teams - who I don't usually work with - involved.

Some are NOT pulling their weight.

Anyway, I held some meetings and was stern, requiring answers as to why they're not completing their tasks, and I found out later that I'm apparently known as one who "freaks out".

angry

I am normally a very quiet, even-keeled person.  And it works for me and my teams.  However, there are times when I need to get stern or ask the tough questions - and demand answers.

I don't yell - I don't flip out - I don't whine -I'm just direct and not as "soft-sounding" as normal.

sooo....that makes me the "freak out" girl?!?!

I've had 3 people indicate that to me - freak-out/nervous/anxious.

So...because I'm normally soft-spoken, then anytime I'm NOT I must be "freaking out"????

That PISSES me off.

I have another colleague who's a natural born bitch - and DOES yell and carry on - yet SHE'S consider "tough".

How do I change this?!?!

by on Apr. 17, 2013 at 6:16 PM
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Replies (1-10):
the3Rs
by Platinum Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 6:19 PM

My husband has a similar problem.  He's also a very quiet guy, just goes about his business doing his job.  But, once in awhile he gets angry or stands up for himself when he's being walked all over and they all start acting like it's this HUGE deal that there must be something horribly wrong for him to be acting out.

ARG.

Marti123
by Platinum Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 10:19 PM
I have never dealt with this. My initial thought is to be quite matter of fact tougher, as they are misinterpreting your questions and demands as "panic" on the project, rather than leadership. Are you trying to explain yourself? Or giving a lot a rationale behind your behavior and demands, sometimes that can be misconstrued as "freaking out." If so would shorten communications a bit, but continue being forceful. Are you listening to the employees concerns before being stern, I know when I did management, listening and then acknowledging what the employee said even during disciplinary action was crucial. Then writing it up free of bias would help squash rumors. Ultimately, there may not be much of anything you can do, sometimes it takes people multiple encounters to fairly judge leaders, and you just don't work with them on a regular basis to get a fair eval!?

And here's a bump at least, maybe somebody else has better ideas.
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the3Rs
by Platinum Member on Apr. 18, 2013 at 6:56 AM

Yes, I absolutely do listen and acknowledge what they're saying first and foremost.  That's a skill I learned over my years of teaching and one I use everyday.

I hear their concerns, and I attempt to help them brainstorm solutions - but they're so damn stubborn they don't want to HEAR any solutions.  They just want to say "can't be done" and keep making excuses.  Meanwhile, I have MY boss saying I can't let them keep making excuses.

So, that's when I got stern.  I suppose maybe I did explain/provide rationale more than I should have - I thought if they understood the reason WHY I'm pushing so hard, they'd understand.

Well, I've done that - so now I guess I just have to say "get it done".  I've given them a deadline of EOD tomorrow already (they've had a long time to do this).  We'll see.  They may very well meet that deadline - but because I'm being tough, they will still say I'm freaking out.

So frustrating.  I don't even have a high 'girl' voice - I have a naturally lower voice which doesn't sound like a "freak out" voice.

Arg.

Quoting Marti123:

I have never dealt with this. My initial thought is to be quite matter of fact tougher, as they are misinterpreting your questions and demands as "panic" on the project, rather than leadership. Are you trying to explain yourself? Or giving a lot a rationale behind your behavior and demands, sometimes that can be misconstrued as "freaking out." If so would shorten communications a bit, but continue being forceful. Are you listening to the employees concerns before being stern, I know when I did management, listening and then acknowledging what the employee said even during disciplinary action was crucial. Then writing it up free of bias would help squash rumors. Ultimately, there may not be much of anything you can do, sometimes it takes people multiple encounters to fairly judge leaders, and you just don't work with them on a regular basis to get a fair eval!?

And here's a bump at least, maybe somebody else has better ideas.


calsmom62
by Silver Member on Apr. 18, 2013 at 8:52 AM
My first thought was that perhaps when you became assertive your voice may may have been higher pitched but looks like you negated that. Body language can come into play, and if your neck muscles tense up, and your breathing becomes more rapid, you can across more as panic and attacking. Even the span of time you wait between their answer and your response to it factors in .
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the3Rs
by Platinum Member on Apr. 18, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Interesting idea, but I'm a remote employee and my webcam is rarely on...they don't actually see me.

Quoting calsmom62:

My first thought was that perhaps when you became assertive your voice may may have been higher pitched but looks like you negated that. Body language can come into play, and if your neck muscles tense up, and your breathing becomes more rapid, you can across more as panic and attacking. Even the span of time you wait between their answer and your response to it factors in .


Marti123
by Platinum Member on Apr. 18, 2013 at 9:06 AM
I am sorry, it highly annoying to be misrepresented!

But in the end, they can take their opinions and suck it up. You're in the lead for a reasons, opinions aside, they need to deliver!!
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calsmom62
by Silver Member on Apr. 18, 2013 at 9:27 AM
Oh that makes it more interesting!


Quoting the3Rs:

Interesting idea, but I'm a remote employee and my webcam is rarely on...they don't actually see me.

Quoting calsmom62:

My first thought was that perhaps when you became assertive your voice may may have been higher pitched but looks like you negated that. Body language can come into play, and if your neck muscles tense up, and your breathing becomes more rapid, you can across more as panic and attacking. Even the span of time you wait between their answer and your response to it factors in .



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mickstinator
by on Apr. 18, 2013 at 9:34 AM
1 mom liked this

Sounds to me like people are making excuses to justify their behavior. If you weren't the "freak out" girl, you'd be the "pushover." 

What is that saying? If you're not called a bitch sometimes, then you aren't doing your job well. 

cjsmom1
by Platinum Member on Apr. 19, 2013 at 11:04 PM

You won't change their opinions. When someone who is normally calm acts differently people will think something is wrong. Just continue doing what you need to.

rezika
by New Member on Apr. 20, 2013 at 2:56 PM

wow I can relate to this...because I'm the quiet one too, the rational one. And one thing I had to learn most was to stop thinking about what other people say and think about me. Because I wanted to be liked and please everyone. I know now that you can never please everyone. And if you can embrace that, and give yourself permission to be tough when you have to be, thats what a leader does. Allow yourself to lead, without worrying about their judgment. If you can allow yourself to be with however they are, you can handle anything...the old saying "so what"...and stick to your deadlines. Let them know the consequences. Work together for a resolution.

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