Most men, even if they have not served in
the armed forces, are also socialized to some extent by a
knowledge or understanding of the military, even if only
through watching war movies. Learn from the lessons of the
military what can work for you in management.
Respect for the chain of command
You obey your commanding officer simply because he is your commanding officer and outranks you, regardless of how you
feel about him personally and even regardless of his competence.
Women who recognize this kind of behaviour in men they
work with can use it to their advantage. Speak a language
he understands. You don't have to like it or agree with
it, just to recognize that many men respond naturally to
it. Management styles are changing in the 1990's, but for most of your working career, there will still be a large number of men out there who think in military terms. Don't cry about it!
If your tyrannical boss constantly takes your ideas as his own, the rules of the game say
you can't go over his head to his commanding officer to
complain and you can't sabotage the project just to get even, not if you're a company woman and plan to rise through the ranks.
You have three choices: you can buckle under and
obey, you can quit, or you can work to try to change things but with respect for the man's position.
Don't risk your own career trying to do side-step lines of authority.
Unless you work in a place with a strong labour union or a
university with tenure, nothing will finish your chances
for promotion faster.
||You can use his
archaic male-dominated military style thinking to your advantage. If you are a manager
with a subordinate male worker who won't do what you say, don't get angry, don't feel hurt and frustrated, let him know that he is to follow your orders simply because you are
You do this either in direct words or, more often, by your attitude, your carriage, your way of speaking to him
that reminds him of the military lessons he knows almost intuitively, whether he's ever served in the forces or not, that he must respect your orders simply because you are his superior officer.
Chain of Command
have you learned about the Chain of Command from being a
student that you can carry into management in the work world?
Post your answer in the
Two One of the best lessons from the military
is the wonderful phrase, that I
learned from my colleague Leo Gallant, an Accounting
professor in the St. Francis Xavier's School of
Your Hill To Die On
Not all battles can be won; not all
hills can be taken; not all battles are worth the cost of
winning; not all hills can be taken without sustaining
grievous losses; sometimes your troops or your artillery
are not up to the fight. A strategic retreat beats an
inglorious defeat any day. There ARE some battles you must
fight, some hills on which you will be willing to stand
and die before you will give it up. But choose these
verrrrrry carefully! In military terms, you only have one
life to give to your country. In management terms, you
only have limited resources and energy.
Three Respect for the trappings of
Four Learn to Take Risks
thing that boys are raised with, better than most girls,
is learning how to take risks. If you want to succeed in
life, you have to take some risks.
|In order to succeed, either
on the battlefield or in life, one sometimes must take
Women aren't generally raised
to take risks, and even when we do, we don't recognize it
or admit it. I've spoken at many workshops where I've
heard women say things like,
|"I'm not a risk taker,
not at all," then two minutes later, she's telling
you, "Two years ago, I left an abusive marriage in
Calgary, picked the kids up one night and hitched a ride
to Toronto with a neighbour; didn't know anyone here, but
I managed to get a job, get the kids into school, and now
we're all doing pretty well." (true story). A pretty brave woman, even if she's not
willing to call herself a risk taker. I did this for years
-- insisted I was not a risk taker. Then I began to take a
look at my life!
For most of us, it's better to practice risk
taking first in relatively safe places. Don't just go into your boss' office tomorrow morning and
threaten to leave if he doesn't shape up. That may be a little too
much risk all at once. Practice in small ways first. A good way is
to practice doing things that traditionally have been done mostly
by men, or things that have terrified you, or which you believed
you could never do.
I learned to change an electric light
fixture in my kitchen, not the bulb, but the actual fixture, when
my husband was laid up with a broken leg. I am
almost as proud of that light fixture as I am of my doctoral
degree that hangs around the corner from it in the hall.
|When I was on my first sabbatical, I learned to
drive a John Deere Tractor. I have a little model of that tractor that sat on my
desk for years. I used to take it with me to difficult department
meetings (all of them) to remind myself that no one would mess
with someone who could control all that power. Click on the link
to see me on my tractor.
||I also have a rabbit's foot, but it's got too
long and difficult a tale (pun intended) attached to it to tell here on the
Internet. Suffice it to say that you can see here that it doesn't have that little metal
ring on the end like the ones you buy ready-made, and it represents one of the riskiest
but best things I ever did in my life.
It's good to push the limits of risk if
you're traditionally a non- or low-risk taker, but don't over do it; don't fall for the
general belief touted in so many business magazines that
you have to climb the bottom half of Mt. Everest or go
white water rafting in order to experience risk and
thereby live life to its fullest. Take risks where you
must and where you think you can succeed, but don't over do it.
about a time you did something really risky, but which
turned out well and was important to you in terms of
your progress at work or school. What symbol
might you put on your desk to remind you of how much you
can do if you really want to?
Post your answer in the