Welcome to another Ask Katrina. Today’s question is:

“Katrina, I’m dealing with a really tough-to-get-along-with female colleague, how do I navigate that relationship?”

I think as women, when we work with other women, and we have what I call a “rub,” or an inability to connect, it’s a hard situation.

We tell ourselves things like “women must stick together” and “because the rules are against us, of course, we are going to band together as women.” So when that doesn’t happen, we are a bit shocked.

Ultimately, a part of us believes that when we get into the executive ranks, the days of cliques and inclusion vs exclusion of other women are over.

At this point in our lives, we’ve all grown out of that, right?

And yet, what we find as we continue to enter into the workplace, is that it hasn’t gone away.

We keep hoping that the next level of leadership will be better, but it isn’t.

So when we step into that executive seat, or really anywhere in the corporate world, but especially in the executive seat, and we’re having to deal with a female peer who just doesn’t want to be a good peer, we aren’t sure how to navigate that.

Let’s dive into how to work through this.

3 Ways to Move Past the Emotions Related to a Fierce Female Colleague

First, recognize that every person is going to think differently and lead differently because we’re all different.

Just because you wouldn’t lead in that capacity doesn’t mean that someone else would choose to do it that way.

The key here is to simply accept the current reality.

There is no blame, right or wrong, one person being better than the other, it’s just the simple fact of accepting differences.

The bottom line is don’t waste your time arguing with reality. Accept the situation and move on.

Second, recognize that because you would not show up that way, you’re probably not going to be able to figure out why she is showing up that way.

You’re never going to understand “why” unless she point-blank tells you.

Don’t waste your time, energy, or focus trying to figure out her motivation.

Now, I don’t want you to think that if she’s causing problems for you in your business, by being a barrier to progress, you shouldn’t address that.

What I’m saying is, address business issues, not personal issues.

The other thing I want you to think about is the way people treat you is really just a reflection of who they are.

I have noticed throughout my career that both men and women showing up hateful, aggressive, and/or combative because of their own internal fears.

We don’t know where that fear is coming from.

We don’t need to dive into why.

We just simply need to understand their fears and behavior cannot affect the way we show up.

Don’t internalize their issues.

Third, accept the simple fact that you’re probably not going to be friends.

Think about all the other people that you have worked with throughout your entire career, and you weren’t friends with them, you were colleagues.

You got along for the sake of the business or you at least generated results because you aligned on a common cause.

While you may not have thought alike, while you may not have shown up on the same page, you still have the same common mission of serving the customer at the highest level.

If you can look at that individual and say, “We have this common endpoint, we may not get there the same way, we may not show up the same way, we may not deal with the world in the same capacity, but she wants the same common endpoint I do,” recognize that that is enough.

We must let go of our desire to make friends, support fellow women, and not play middle school games because again, everyone is different.

Shift your focus from emotion to results. Ask yourself, “How can we work on this together to get to this endpoint?”

Approach your female colleague with questions and dialogue like, “What does success look like for you? How are you getting your team there? How can I support you? Here’s what I’m doing. Here’s how you can support me.”

Stay focused on your true task at hand: serving the organization. Your mission is not to make this person a “better person.”

The organization has other leaders in place, her supervisor for example, to make sure she is showing up and being the leader that she’s meant to be.

The company needs you to stay focused on yourself and add the highest level of value you can add.

Stay focused on the right mission and watch the hard-to-get-along-with female leader take a lower priority on your focus list.

If you want to learn more about getting executive-level results with speed and without distractions, schedule a call with the Legend Leaders team now, and let’s chat!