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Difficult Women: How Do You Push Back When That Comes Up?

Written By: Lauren Howard

I hope that no one is ever in a situation to need it, but documentation is always your friend. If something happens that makes you feel uncomfortable or has you questioning your place within an organization, write it down and do it quickly. The sooner you do it, the more you will remember. Keep a running tally of what happened, where it was, who said what, and what the responses to those comments were. Hopefully, you never need it, but it’s better to have it than try to remember it after the fact.

With the documentation, you can either informally or formally follow up on your concerns in a measured and goal-directed way. That doesn't mean you have to. You don’t need to show up to every argument that you’re invited to, but if you see the narrative starting to form, keep your position in color-coded files. Or, like, a Google Sheet.

When you’re comfortable, you could have a direct and friendly conversation with the person who seems to be responding poorly. Maybe it’s just a misunderstanding and you can sweep it under the rug. No problem. If you’re not comfortable with that, you can go through your manager or a supervisor depending on where the point of conflict is.

It doesn’t have to be a long interaction. Keep it friendly but direct, and let them know that you feel that you’re getting internal pushback that doesn’t align with your goals or output. If they ask how you could possibly think that, you can refer to your documentation and ask for clarification of where the point of confusion is. Keep it brief, ask for actionable feedback, and make sure that you document that too. If the feedback is about your personality and not about your output, then you know that this is a them problem and not a you problem. From there, you can decide how to handle it.

This post is part of the monthly themed writing topic: Difficult Women for our Weekly Bullsh!t newsletter. Want to join for exclusive content, giveaways, and events? Click here to subscribe!


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