Let’s Grow Up, Girls

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”

Bullying and Mean Girls

I am disgusted with the recent turmoil in our tax assessor’s and county attorney’s offices, but I am thrilled to see that every comment on every article I have read about this incident has been in support of the bilingual women. These ladies were hired because they are bilingual, but they were then asked to sign a document promising not to speak Spanish in the office. Our county even made national news on Telemundo.

I too was quick to pull out the current terms of outrage such as racism, discrimination, and bullying. However, I want to offer another opinion. Women, we need to do better. We are so quick to form cliques. The three-girl syndrome is alive and well, as two girls will gang-up on the third. Why can’t we all be friends? We don’t have to be BFF’s, but we can get along. When one of us excels, why can’t we cheer. When one of us is struggling, why can’t we encourage? When one of us becomes the boss, why do we have to form factions, one group falsely kissing up and another waiting for her demise?

“Mean girls” is not just something that happens in middle school; it is a well-honed phenomenon that begins at home. Girls watch their moms. Are we including everyone in our after-work gatherings? Do we ask the new lady to sit with us at a meeting, at church? Do we try to really get to know each other? Are we curious enough to ask questions? Or do we assume we know what kind of person she is? Do we assume she is not cool enough for our group or that she has her own set of friends? And when we reach a level of power, do we wield it like a tyrant, or do we lead as a servant? Maybe I am stereotyping women, but I doubt that men would run tattle to the boss that another employee was talking about them.

Leaders and bosses must learn to communicate with staff and employees Leaders need to recognize mean girl attitudes without joining a side and without a power grab. True leaders walk beside their team members to encourage them to mature and improve their performance. All employees should be valued for the skills they bring to the workplace and encouraged to gain more. Good leaders also help maintain an amiable work environment.

I believe this situation could have been defused with better leadership, a leader who valued the skills these ladies brought to the office rather than hastily grabbing the power.

I do think it’s time for a change in leadership at the tax assessor and the county attorney offices, but will a dismissal only breed more mean girls if we don’t help these leaders improve their skills? A mediator or counselor should be able to help with reconciliation, and our county would be the better for it.

I hope a better solution can be found. In the meantime, ladies, let’s do our part to be inclusive and welcoming to everyone. Let’s leave the mean girl stuff behind and not perpetuate it in our own girls. Let us walk with the wise and become wise. Let us lead our own girls in wisdom rather than pettiness.

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