The threat was posted publicly on LinkedIn: “The world would be better off without you.” It’s not every day that I receive a threat to my life like this. It prompted me to think about what makes people so angry that they are compelled to post something this serious, and how to handle disagreements better instead.
The offending Linkedin post was “What Bothers Me About Working Women”, an article that explores a key concept in The Women’s Code, which is that we cannot look at men and women as being the same because clearly, we are not the same. Rather, we want to evaluate what is equivalent.
Men Are Furious
It started as it always does. Women comment and thank me for the thoughts in my article and collectively realize that to achieve equality in the workplace, there are things like flex time, better child care, and no penalties for women who have to stay at home with a sick child. This notion is endorsed by quite a few men who have wives or daughters and recognize that a healthy work-life balance includes reducing the stress that comes from worrying about your kids when you have to be at work. I do believe that there are many wonderful men who chip in at home. At the same time, the numbers are what they are and they show that women do the majority of child-related work and housework, so there should be nothing to argue here.
Because women want equality more than we want superiority, we ultimately want men to have the same options as women—but we need to create them for women first. Countless studies support the immediate need to create better support systems for women as we continue to buckle under the double duty.
Once the first man comments and screams unfair to men! inevitably, other men chime in. Within hours, the wolf pack mentality has begun and the bad apples outdo each other in outrageous, personal, and vile attacks.
I’ve Heard It All
There is the comment about my privilege of having sold a company to Bill Gates (hint, I worked for it), that I must be a feminist single Jewish woman (I am attached, I am not Jewish), to standardized statements meant to apply to all feminists like me, to the final very serious threat of “the world would be better off without you.” Now, I have heard it all.
And all of this because I said women should be treated equally in the workplace! Needless to say, I reported the person who made the death threat and the most offensive comments.
How To Handle Disagreements
We live in volatile times, where the top dog suggests it is okay to state mistruths, to spin facts, to spit out crazy and meaningless slogans and rhetoric. It has created a constant threat to basic civility. That’s why I want to share a few thoughts that you might find helpful on how to handle disagreements and stay centered.
Stay On Topic
First, stay on topic in any discussion. Go back to what we are actually discussing here. It’s so easy to get caught in the domino effect of other arguments that unravel in the comments. In my case, the topic was workplace initiatives that support working mothers better. Agree or disagree, but keep to the facts and stay on point.
In the age of internet transparency, you want to remain professional in every single comment you add in open forums like LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. If in doubt, don’t say it. Once it is out there, it is out there forever as an undeniable record of how your temper got away from you.
An Opinion Is Just That
Remember that you have a right to voice your opinion, and others have that same right. Your opinion is one of many. When you comment on opinion piece (in contrary to research papers that deal with facts), lighten up and keep an open mind. Sometimes I am shocked by how things are perceived or interpreted, or by how other people think.
In my work with The Women’s Code, the hostile and angry comments from men are needed for me to develop programs that will work for men and women. If I don’t understand how deeply rooted the anger of some men toward women, and what they consider as unfair preferential treatment toward women, then I would not be able to reach those men who need the information most.
To sum it up, it’s easy to get caught in the wave of discord that is seemingly sweeping the globe. Let history be your teacher, and stay centered. Once insanity stops being fashionable, only the moderate and balanced will remain in leadership.
How are you handling the crazies? Please share! I am sure I can pick up a tip or two from you because I bet I am not alone in this.
Beate Chelette is the Founder of The Women’s Code and serves as the Programming Chair for the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO-LA). Once $135,000 in debt and a single mother, she successfully sold her business to Bill Gates in a multi-million dollar deal.
Beate’s supports organizations two-fold. Beate provides leadership development programs for organizations that want to implement the ROI of Balanced Leadership through The Women’s Code, her signature system that educates leaders and helps companies achieve gender equality. The Women’s Code creates and implements programs that improve organizational culture, foster productive work environments and help companies improve their people ROI.
As The Growth Architect she creates outreach and sponsorship programs through customized Entrepreneur skills training following the 5 Star Success Blueprint that shows step-by-step how to grow, build and scale businesses.
Beate is a respected speaker and mentor and is the author of the #1 International Amazon Bestseller “Happy Woman Happy World – How to Go From Overwhelmed to Awesome”, a book that corporate trainer and best-selling author Brian Tracy calls “a handbook for every woman who wants health, success and a fulfilling career.”
If you’d like to book Beate as a speaker on Leadership or Entrepreneurship for your next event please connect here.