This week's question could probably have come from many of us at one time or another...
I get along well with male colleagues. I am not a newcomer to ministry, nor to life. But I still find myself surprised when male clergy who would likely describe themselves as liberal, progressive or even feminist, behave badly when I am in a position of authority "over" them. I may be teaching a class or workshop, or chairing a board or committee, or mentoring a student.
I don't expect it. I'm not looking for it. But it happens, and on those occasions I find I revert to old feelings and response patterns.
Matriarchs, how have you handled the male colleague who resists your appropriate leadership? How do you keep your cool? Move past it? Keep the group, if there is one, on task?
Kathryn was our sole respondent this week:
Good question. I go by the 3 strikes and you're out(ed) policy. I'll ignore it once, even twice... pause after it the third time and then name it. The key for me is quelling the ol' fight/flight response, by being able to name the behavior myself internally and then I'm more able to defuse the situation - hopefully with humor. Here are a few of the things I've said out loud,
"Are you okay, you seem a bit more outspoken than usual?"
"Really? You want to be that guy?"
Because they take pride in their self-defined idea of themselves as progressive, liberal, etc... this is usually enough to get it to stop.
A guy would call them out on the behavior, it's important as women that we stand up for ourselves as well.
How have you handled colleagues behaving badly? How did your strategy work for you?
Our mailbox is empty again...awaiting your questions. Don't wait, thinking you will get to it later! Send us your question here, please!
Finally, after several years of co-editing this feature, I am stepping down. It's been a joy to work with Earthchick and all the Matriarchs, and a privilege to steward the joys and struggles you have shared in your questions for us. Earthchick will resume as editor next week; next year another member of the blogring will join her.
May you live in God's amazing grace+