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Wedding Woes

Why do you have to be 'alpha' instead of collaborative?

Dear Prudence,
I’ve been told a number of times that I’m fairly direct. When I’m on calls or in meetings, I can take charge and get things done. But when I’m around other strong women, I defer to them almost like a beta to an alpha. What ends up happening is that these same women have no idea that I’m perfectly capable of standing up for myself or being successful on my own. A previous manager was shocked when I was promoted two times after I left her team.

Now I once again work for someone who is more direct than I am. I feel like I could learn a lot from her, but I’m not comfortable seeming “meek” or “docile.” At the same time, I can’t get a word in edgewise. My new manager is the type who can dish it out but can’t take it. Any thoughts on how I can become the alpha again?
—Weak Around Strong Women

Re: Why do you have to be 'alpha' instead of collaborative?

  • You're going about this the wrong way. There is no one alpha and one beta. Act in a way that is professional and feels appropriate for who you are, and the culture of the company. 

    Also, there shouldn't be "dishing it out" or "taking it". Be clear, be professional, be relevant; but no need to be confrontational. 

    Agreed!  Perhaps instead of focusing on being the "alpha", she focuses on being just as confident with strong women as she is with anybody else.

    Look at it more as an opportunity to play different ideas off each other and come up with more amazing plan(s)/solution(s) than any one person could have come up with alone.  That's the magic of good teamwork.

    I remember doing a fun exercise in one of my college classes.  (I think) NASA had created a basic list of the ten most important needs/things to have if one were living on the moon and in order of importance.  First, we all came up with our own list...individually...of what those ten things were and their order.  Then, we met in groups and created a group list.

    Pretty much everyone's individual list was way off, lol.  But all the group lists?  They were almost spot-on.  It was a powerful lesson for me.

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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    What she needs to be is assertive and professional. Neither passively "beta" nor aggressively "alpha."
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited May 2018
    I think it's concerning that she says her boss can "dish it out but can't take it".  What exactly is going on?

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