It seems that getting on well with a female boss is a mystery to both men and women. Many women face discrimination due to having power over men, and get into awkward situations on a daily basis. However, men don’t always feel powerless, but being the loveable idiots that we are, we just want to come across as funny and witty. This often leads to miscommunication. Also, men like a friendly and pleasant atmosphere, so they try to break the ice with ridiculous jokes and statements. Some even try too hard to establish rapport, resorting to topics that they think women talk about all the time, like chick flicks, their periods and pillow fights with their best friends.
Asking her if she cried when Carrie finally ended up with Big (Sex & the City) isn’t really a good way of breaking the ice. Lucky for you, there are a few useful tips for getting along with women in power, so read this how to guide carefully, in order to get on well with your female boss.
1. Respect Her Authority
Some men can feel weird when they have less power than a woman, because the reversal of traditional roles in human society simply baffles their brain. Sometimes it’s not even about working for a woman – some guys just don’t get along well with authority figures in general, and if it happens to be a lady they feel that they can get away with more that they would with a male boss. The logic here seems to be: “What’s she gonna do? Spank me? Give me the silent treatment?”
Gender isn’t important here, but as men often have an issue with someone physically weaker trying to assert dominance over them – yes, men can be lumbering apes pounding their chests when it comes to this sort of thing – they are more likely to express their dissatisfaction with their position in a company when they have a female boss. However, don’t be rude just because she succeeded in her career, she’s definitely on your side, and will do a lot to help you improve and climb up the corporate ladder, as long as you show her respect. If you want to have a good relationship with your female boss, you need to respect her, and remember that she put in a lot of effor to get where she is and so she definitely desrves that respect.
2. Don’t Make Stupid Jokes, Just Don’t
First rule – Don’t sing “Girls run the world” by Beyoncé. It seems that every man feels the need to encourage their female boss by singing these lyrics, as they consider it an anthem of all sisterhoods across the globe. Even if you are a women, there is absolutely no need for inspirational musical numbers at the office, because it is simply awkward. Also, jokes such as “That’s what she said” and “Yo momma” are really inappropriate and, most importantly, not funny. Not all people share the same sense of humor, so be careful, especially if the boss is new or you’re the new employee. Most importantly, avoid making stupid jokes in front of other people.
3. Why so Serious?
Women often try to joke less, as their jokes can come across as mean, and they don’t get all the laughs in the office. It’s all fun and games when two guys poke fun of each other’s appearances or sex lives, but when a woman makes fun of a guy, he can really take it to heart. Quite paradoxically, men tend to be bigger girls than women in such cases. Linguistics expert Judith Baxter has done some research on women making jokes in the office and found out that 80% of their jokes ended in silence. So, if your female boss looks strict and serious all the time, the reason might be because she’s aware that most of the jokes end in an awkward silence.
Don’t ask your boss “Why so serious?”, but give her some time to express her humor, because women who have been in business long enough know where to place boundaries, and that making some jokes in front of the whole office can only make her seem less professional.
4. Don’t Use Stereotypes in Your Jokes
Pam: [during a role-playing exercise; to Dwight, who’s supposed to be Asian] Okay, if I have to do this, based on stereotypes that are totally untrue and that I do not agree with, you would maybe... not be a very good driver.
Dwight: Aw, man! Am I a woman? Aww! Boo! – The Office (2005)
Stereotypes are usually used in jokes, in order to get a few cheap laughs; however, using stereotypes about women in front of a female boss is inappropriate and can only make things incredibly awkward. This also applies to other stereotypes related to race, and the city they come from. These can be used only if you are good friends, but if you don’t know your boss, you should definitely stay clear of this sensitive area. And yes, this also applies to jokes including stereotypes about blondes.
5. Don’t Try to be Her Bestie
Girls usually try to get on well with their female boss, as they think they are immediately BFFs. However, you can be sure that she already has plenty of girlfriends. Remember, you’re not trying to join a sorority, and there is no secret club of powerful women that you are qualified to join just because you’ve got that extra X chromosome. Even if you become friends, that won’t make a difference when you are at the office. Don’t expect your boss to jeopardize her position by choosing favorites and giving you special treatment.
It will be a lot easier to talk to her when you have some problems, but don’t try to bond too much, because it can be a bit strange to immediately start asking her who has a better butt, Mark from accounting or that guy that always hangs around the copier. This also includes questions such as “Are you on the Taylor Swift squad or on the Katy Perry team?” Make sure you develop your relationship professionally, and if you have the same interests, you might become friends later. It’s better to prove yourself as an employee, and let her prove herself as an excellent boss.
6. Don’t Ask Her if She is a Feminist
Women have a lot of pressure at work as it is, and they don’t like to be asked stupid questions. They have to fight various stereotypes, and their every move is judged by others. So, they need to think about everything they’ll do and say in order not to be considered as someone who underestimates or discriminates men, or even other women. Everything they do will be labeled one way or another, and they are aware of that. Therefore, if you want to get on well with your boss, don’t ask her if she will be attending the Sunday Bra Burning Rally, and don’t try to fit her in some stereotype. Everyone expects a lot of them, so don’t make it harder for her.
7. Don’t Post on Her Wall
If you are friends on Facebook, it doesn’t mean you should have coffee together or hit the clubs. A Facebook profile is a private matter, at least to some extent, and as she is your boss, her privacy should be respected and you shouldn’t even be friends on these networks unless it is completely necessary.
However, liking photos of her at the beach or posting “funny” memes and videos that she “just has to see” on her wall is not a good way to win her over. Men have a habit of taking one small joke to a totally new level by expanding the joke and not stopping. You should avoid creating gifs and silly memes with your bosses face, or trying to be clever in the comments – it’s the equivalent of pulling a girl’s hair to get her to notice you. On the other hand, women tend to post cute pictures for no reason. If your boss has a dog or a cat, that doesn’t mean you should post little puppies on her wall with hearts as comments.
8. Trust Her
It is believed, that women are more protective of their employees than men. Men may be less strict, but they are also less empathetic. If someone from a higher position in a company criticizes the subordinates, women are more likely to defend them and fight for them, even if they know their employees made a mistake. You could call it a motherly instinct, but I’ve already warned you about stereotypes and sexists comments, so you should know better.
Men somehow don’t get into one job so passionately, and are not so understanding when it comes to employees’ mistakes or problems (regarding the job). Your female boss might criticize you more, whereas a male one will make jokes, but know that she is doing her best to help you improve.
If you have a new boss, or you are a new employee, you cannot expect to have a great relationship immediately, because you don’t know each other that well. The fact that your boss is a female doesn’t change anything. Ditch the stereotypes, because every person is unique and doesn’t share the same traits as others. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make jokes, but only use appropriate ones in the office, leave the goofiness for more casual settings. If your boss also watches Family Guy and The Office, she won’t mind if you make a “stupid” joke every now and then.
Do you get on well with your boss? Let us know in the comments section below.