Tag Archives: Behaviors

Communication - Mindset

You Don’t Need to Be a Man to Mansplain

Last week I was asked to review a report with Simon, a senior leader in an organization where I consult. I have met with Simon before and I appreciate his thoroughness, his concern for the organization, and his analytical brain.

Simon and I started out the video chat with pleasantries, and then he started to review the report, sharing his screen. I tried to let him know that I had already read the entire report and that I had highlighted questions to discuss, but he kept talking. I got louder. He didn’t respond. I stood up, he didn’t notice. I waved, he continued.

I thought, “He will notice soon that I am not responding.” Reminder: This wasn’t a big presentation with a virtual room full of attendees, there were just the two of us in this meeting. Then I thought, “It won’t be too long before he notices he can’t hear me.”

Simon continued, without noticing that I wasn’t responding, for 43 minutes, without the slightest pause. I cleaned my entire desk area and wrote this blog while Simon read to me and explained.  

When Simon finally noticed that he couldn’t hear me he took one look at his ear bud and voila — he could hear me again. At this point, we didn’t have much time left and I didn’t have the patience needed to have a worthwhile discussion.

So, what is mansplaining exactly, and how do you know if you do it? This article, written by a man, says it all: How to Tell if You’re Mansplaining

How can you, regardless of your gender, make sure that you catch yourself before mansplaining happens?

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Leadership - Mindset

Hello, My Name is Karen

Hello! My name is Karen. If you had asked me 10 years ago if I would be apologizing for my name, I would have said,“…What?”

When my parents, mostly my mother, named me Karen, it was after my grandmother Karoline. It was a very popular name at the time, and in fact there were three Karens in my Kindergarten class. I could write my entire name very well before I even got to first grade.

If somehow you haven’t heard, according to Urban Dictionary, Karen is now a pejorative term for a woman seeming to be entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is normal. The term also refers to memes depicting white women who use their privilege to demand their own way. 

There was even a Super Bowl commercial apologizing to a woman named Karen. 

I know a lot of Karens. One is a CEO, and another is a caretaker. I took a walk with one friend Karen this week, she’s a HR executive, and yet another Karen in my life is a nurse. There are two Karens in my extended family, and the other Karen lovingly refers to herself when she’s with my nuclear family as “the other Karen.” What we do have in common is that we were all born within the same decade. Quite honestly, I don’t know many people of color who are named Karen, but I did go to camp with one and that Karen was a ton of fun with a huge sense of humor.  

So, Karen has become a stereotype. Of course, I wish another name had been selected for the role, like Marsha, Jan, Nancy, Patty, Mary, or why not Brenda? Those names were all popular at the time too. 

What we can learn from this is that stereotypes are a fixed, over-generalized belief about a particular group or class of people. By stereotyping, we infer that a person has a whole range of characteristics and abilities that we assume all members of that group have. 

One advantage of a stereotype is that it enables us to respond rapidly to situations since we may have had a similar experience before.

One disadvantage is that it makes us ignore differences between individuals; therefore, we generalize and think things about people that might not be true.

The use of stereotypes is a major way in which we simplify our social world since it reduces the amount of processing (i.e. thinking) we have to do when we meet a new person.

Feel free to call me Karen. It’s my name. And please take the time to get to know me. I will do the same for you. Let’s start with scheduling a complimentary call.

And then introduce me to your organization. Derogatory comments about what one eats, their name, their beliefs can be disempowering and upsetting when spoken from colleagues. If your organization occasionally suffers from a lack of empathy and kindness, it’s impacting the bottom line.  Give me a call and let’s work together to improve the culture.

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Communication - Mindset

Why Porch Haircuts Matter to Your Business

Last week, I wrote about Bill’s less than perfect haircut. I received a surprising amount of feedback on the blog. I just love it when people give me feedback!

What prompted the large number of responses? Was it that others wanted to know how to successfully cut their significant other’s hair? I doubt it!

I think what prompted readers to open last week’s blog and comment was that it revealed something personal about me and it was perhaps relatable. 

I strive to have a professional and respectful business presence. At the same time, I believe consumers and potential customers want to get to know the people they do business with on a more human level.

How can you better connect with your client base? Please send me your ideas. You know I love to hear from you!

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