I wrote last week about the vast changes taking place within our company, we have had some major shifting of roles and re-allocations. While it has all been positive from a management point of view, it has not been without its challenges, namely with staff and clients. Changing attitudes is proving to be more difficult than first thought, and I find myself once again facing the battle of enforcing my authority and demanding respect.
These last few weeks in particular have highlighted just how far we are still to come within the construction industry, to accepting women, particularly women in leadership roles. Clients, staff and sub-contractors alike seem to have issues not previously shown. As I have stepped into a far more superior role to my one previously, I have faced clients refusing to deal with myself, I have had clients refusing to be emailed a weekly plan by my office administrator (who happens to be female and like myself, without a trade), I have noticed a staggering difference in the way staff and sub-contractors are taking direction from myself, all of which is deeply disappointing.
I am a very loyal person, however these repeating issues are forcing me to question at least who I am loyal too. They are simply not the kind of personality traits that can or do change. Now when these attitudes are from staff or subcontractors, we can simply move them on, but when they are deep seeded and from a client, the battle is a whole new one.
I have been unsure this week of how to deal with one situation in particular, do I walk away from that business/client relationship and let the men in our company deal with it, or do I stand my ground and finish the job in the position I now hold? It’s a hard one for me, I can be quite stubborn, but in this case I question the point of being stubborn, what will it actually achieve?
It seems regardless of which choice I make, we still have a long way to go in the battle of changing attitudes within and around the construction industry. I am more than happy to stand up and continue the good fight, I think I just need to learn when the fight is worth fighting.
Do you have any suggestions to help dealing with difficult men? How exactly do you reply when someone is being condescending?