June 2007 Newsletter
Audrey Nelson Ph.D, Inc

Smart Talk


...Engaging in conflict is perceived as unfeminine. It requires a great deal of assertiveness, which may include rocking the boat. Women’s role is to be the peacemaker, master negotiator, placater, office mom and smoother of all ripples of conflict at work and home. Girls received the message early: Sugar and Spice and everything nice are the ingredients from which they are made! When a woman expresses anger she is questioned. Is this outburst hormonally driven? Is she being emotional? For men expressions of anger are sanctioned. In fact it is one of the few emotions men can express publicly. We look to men to lead us into battle and women to heal the wounded and minimize the fatalities.
...We have approximately three decades of psychological research that tells us women have higher rates of depression than men. The operational definition of depression is anger turned inward. Women suppress their anger and men express it. She can take the anger out on herself by feeling guilty, depressed and self-doubting. The cost is high and the taboo to great for her to show anger.
...Women often exhibit more indirect ways of expressing their anger like passive aggressive behavior. She will not get mad at you directly but indirectly. Passive aggressive behavior may appear innocent on the surface (convenient misunderstanding, forgetting, being tardy) but underneath the behavior a rage flows. Audrey was addressing a group of women support staff of a Fortune 50 company for “Secretaries Day” and asked them how they handled anger toward their bosses. One woman reported she was angered at her bosses’ orders, especially to get him a cup of coffee. So she just spit in it before she gave it to him. While the audience collectively gasped she exclaimed it took care of all her anger toward his demeaning orders. She could not directly address the issue with him but took care of it indirectly.
...Anger is an important signal in conflict that cannot be ignored. Anger can signal someone crossing a boundary; frustration when things are not right and most important, anger can maintain our integrity of our self. Harriet Lerner, a psychotherapist at the Menninger Foundation explains the difficulties women have expressing anger. She also addresses the sex difference:

Women who openly express anger at men is especially suspect…we all know that ‘those angry women’ turn everybody off. Unlike our heroes, who fight and even die for what they believe in… Te direct expression of anger, especially at men, makes us unladylike, unfeminine, unmaternal, and sexually unattractive…They are devoid of femininity.

...One of the greatest challenges in conflict is allowing the productive expression of anger. Women may have to be coached or given permission that it is “safe” to express her anger and her femininity will not be jeopardized.

"Where in the World is Audrey?"

Business Excellence Forum
Denver metro Chamber
“The Sky’s the Limit”

August 15th
9 am-10:15 am
Regis University
Lowell Street Campus
(Denver location)

Other News
Catch Audrey's Guest Column "A Barcode on her Forehead"
in COBIZ Magazine ,May, p.12!

Mark your Calendars:
Audrey was just competitively selected to present “Go Home and Put on Some Clothes! Has Casual Friday Gone Over the Top? For the Staying Out of the Courtroom Track at the Colorado Society of Human Resource Management conference Sept 5 - 7, 2007 in Keystone.

in the "Balance" section - Audrey's feature article -
He says, she says: Communication between the sexes can be difficult
Did you miss one of the
Smart Talk Columns?
Browse the archives of Audrey’s 2006-to date Smart Talk Columns on her web! Simply go to www.audreynelson.com and click on “Newsletters.”
What People are saying about Audrey
I just received a call from the leader of our “virtual” classroom team. She said that your presentation is the model of how web classroom meetings should be conducted. You did a superb job of getting everyone involved with your exercises and your presentation with its stories was OUTSTANDING!

Vicki McCarl
Corporate Planning
Xcel Energy
1099 18th Street, suite 3000
Denver, CO 80201

Audrey, you have become the new buzz here at Xcel Energy. The women who attended your session have not stopped
talking about it and you.
Thanks again,

Harryette Johnson
CES Business Planning Consultant
Council for Diversity and Inclusion
Xcel Energy, Customer & Enterprise Solutions

Dear Dr. Nelson,
I had the pleasure of hearing you speak at last week’s Xcel Energy’s WIN seminar on dealing with difficult people. I got a lot out of it. I had already been practicing some coping skills and feel more empowered in my own ability to deal with annoying (if not difficult) people. I hope Vicki McCarl brings you back to discuss gender issues. I would definitely be interested in hearing your thoughts on that. I’m sure two hours won’t be enough to cover that topic. Please add me to your monthly newsletter. Thanks.

Audrey, Your Dealing with Difficult People training helped me as soon as I walked out of the classroom door. I have found myself thinking more and more about the payoffs that the difficult people in my life-circles expect and am being more adept at finding the right tools to cut off the payoffs. Recently I led the first meeting of a technical team of gas industry professionals - I am the chairperson of this diverse and too-large group and have already experienced several difficult conference calls. I am delighted to report that the meeting went off beautifully, and I owe much of my success in handling the situation to the skills I learned in your class - not being difficult myself but at the same time standing up for myself and my expertise, changing my previous responses to the difficult team members with tact and humor, and above all, being true to myself and my values. Thanks so much!

Rosemarie Halchuk
Senior Gas Quality Engineer
Xcel Energy

"Audrey's Top 4 CD Communication Hits"