Avoiding Mean Girls in Direct Sales
In today’s society, it seems that women’s biggest relationship problems would be with men, not women. But for all too many women, it’s the other women in their lives that make life difficult. Grown up mean girls can be catty, vindictive creatures. And while typically this behavior only causes some minor discomfort or hurt feelings, in extreme cases it can make our experience in direct sales almost horrible. You won’t find a lot of articles about mean girls in our industry. Most leaders hope that it isn’t happening. We Train and educate our teams on how to show each other respect and listen. However in today’s world, most of our interaction is done on Social Media or via text message, which quite frankly enhances a problem that some people refuse to talk about.
If you have begun your Direct Sales business, although you will spend most of your time in the beginning learning the ropes of the actually systems and procedures of the company, there will eventually come a time, where you will have to decide if you want to enter into Leadership. When you first begin, not many will think about how their actions, words or comments can affect a team, a group or other people, but once you start a team, everything changes. Everything you do needs to change. Your team is watching you and if you want to be successful you need to do the things that you want your team to mirror. If you do nothing but constantly complain and have no solutions to produce positive changes, well you will have inbox or a group page full of complaints. If you constantly speak badly about your up line, company or down line, you will have lots of conversations in which you aren’t talking but your team is talking ALOT about the company or your team. If you are some who is passive aggressive, you know the type that politely calls your team or sponsor out in a public setting and then with a smile says, “I was only kidding or a I was only trying to help.” You will soon find your self with a team full of problems, issues and drama.
Why do ladies still worry about mean girls in direct sales?
Many of us have see the instances above. You will find these type of situations, adults today shy away from so badly because of past experiences. Some people won’t even join direct sales teams in fear that it may still go on mainly because of the large numbers of women in our industry. It comes back to them quite vividly. You know the groups from high school, the cliques who excluded other girls to be cruel and with usually no reason what so ever. Fact is no one likes to be excluded and that never goes away even as we grow up. Studies have shown that even out of high school and still into our thirties and forties, adult women use exclusion when they feel they are in competition. The first thing a woman will do is grab a friend with the mentality of power in numbers in comparison to a man who truly only believes he wins based on his own individual efforts. Women generally fear being left out in social environments and generally feel this type of thing happens when there are large groups of women like in direct sales. Some women don’t necessarily exclude people with an actual purpose but subconsciously it has been shown that they do conduct this type of behavior to win.
Twelve years ago, this type of behavior was one of the main things I was afraid of when I joined my first company. I just didn’t want to go back to the drama of high school. Luckily I was welcomed with open arms and I stayed excited and happy and part of the family. This exact point is something I touch on during my opportunity calls in case someone else is worried that they are going to have to wear pink on Wednesdays in order to sit with their friends in the lunch room. Women are very dependent on community. We want to know we have people that care about us to turn to. If you are shunned from a group, it almost feels like a death and this has gone back to early days and evolution.
We see this type of mean girl behavior on lots of shows we watch, sometimes even how our mothers have acted and we follow suit. Seeing this type of thing resonates with us because we have been there so we are obsessed with seeing how it all plays out.
No Mean Girls for you
It is important to break these cycles since we all know what it is like to deal with this type of situation. Here are a few tips so that you can make sure you are never a mean girl:
1. Be Respectful. By definition, respect is having consideration or regard for someone or something. This is something that I personally think everyone should learn growing up. Treating others as you’d like to be treated is a good rule to follow. All direct sales consultants have the right to share their opinions, their ideas and their suggestions. Many times those thoughts will differ from yours, but everyone that has come into your life has something to offer. Be respectful of your fellow consultants. Remember we all have a lot of the same dreams in common. It is time to lift each other up.
2. Be Helpful. It’s ok to share a great new tip or trick that you learned about host coaching, recruiting, social media. For some reason, I constantly see information hoarding. It is like we ladies feel that there is not enough to go around. LADIES, I am here to tell you there is plenty to go around. I am so appreciative of the people who have offered information and who have helped me along my journey. Pay it forward. Sharing what you know or what others have shared with you is a great way to be supportive and help. It also allows people to trust you and believe you really want others besides yourself to succeed.
3. Be Kind. Its not you against other direct sales consultants. Show compassion and understanding. Assume people do the things they do because of whatever is going on in their life. Think the best in people instead of tearing them down when they aren’t around. I always find it interested in conversations and really gage how a person is by what they say about other people. Momma always said, “If you don’t have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”
4. Be Humble. Do not walk around like you are better than anyone else. It doesn’t matter what rank you are, what title you are. It doesn’t matter if you are close friends with the founders of the company or if your consultant ID is #1. Modesty is a good thing. Take time with consultants who joined yesterday. Get in the trenches. Listen and as you meet people or talk with people be very interested in what they have to say. Every single person you talk with knows something you don’t know. Consultant ID #1 isn’t a golden cauldron full of know it all juice. Learn from people. Show your awesomeness by sharing and caring instead of rubbing it in people’s faces that you have a team of 5000 plus or you had coffee with the owner yesterday.
5. Be Grateful. Thank you is a powerful phrase. If someone does something nice for you, thank them! There are so many direct sales consultants who do things out of the kindness of their heart. They do not want anything in return. They don’t need shout outs or recognition. They don’t expect to have their name in lights. They truly get self satisfaction in providing love and support to people who need it. Thank those people. Selflessness is a great quality. In my time in with Scentsy, I have to say there have been quite a few people that truly have this quality. In this particular minute, I have to thank Becca Levie and Kallie Pettichord. They are both Super Star Directors and our powerhouse Scentsy Mother/Daughter team. They have helped me any time I have needed them. They have treated me as thought I was part of the family, never judged and have always been there no matter what seeing the leader that I could become. They have helped mold me into Wickless Jilleysue but let my journey run its course. They expect nothing in return are always there to listen. If there was more selflessness in direct sales, our industry would be a happier place. Show appreciation when someone does something nice for you. It means something and they need to hear it.
What do you do if you are dealing with mean girls?
So what is a girl to do when a grown up mean girl won’t let up? when they constantly try to pick you a part? correct you on a public forum? use passive aggressive remarks? attack every action as if you aren’t a good leader? Yes as sad as it is to read, those things happen. Here are 4 techniques to help deal with adult mean girls.
Be Friendly. Women sometimes see other women as competition. Jealousy sets in. In your mind, you are probably thinking that his person has absolutely no reason to be nasty to you. Truth is, in her mind she does. Rather than just ignoring the situation, make an effort to reach out. Send her a Facebook message. Ask her about her family or compliment her on something she did for her team. If you go out of your way to be nice to her, it is less attractive for her to be mean to you.
Stay in Control of Your Emotions. Mean, horrible, catty behavior is fueled when you retaliate. You may be the one that is attacked at first, but if you engage in the situation, you are no better than the mean girl and you are just giving her an excuse to continue on. The cycle of grown up mean girls never gets better when you lash out. It can spiral out of control very quickly and I have seen many times others people within teams get caught in the cross fire. Stay quiet and find other ways to get to a solution. Don’t take it personally. Its about you, not them.
Face the problem. Some women are so used to interacting with other women in ways that are catty, vindictive, and mean-spirited that they may not be aware they’re doing it. Mean girl behavior thrives on passive aggression, and it’s hard for that aggression to remain passive if you call the other woman out on her behavior. Don’t start a war and don’t be hateful. But if there’s a specific incident you can talk about, and being nice and friendly hasn’t worked, confront the other woman and ask her if there’s something that can be done to change the quality of your relationship. Some suggestions for how to start the conversation might look like this:
“Hey, I’ve noticed that you aren’t on the team page much or if you are the tone seems cold. I didn’t know if you were aware that you were doing this, but I wanted to see if there was something I had done to offend you so we can have a better relationship.”
“I feel like you don’t like me. Have I done something to upset you?”
“I’ve heard that you are upset with my leadership or things I may be doing. I’d like to try to talk about that if we can so you and I can have a good relationship with you. What can we do to fix this?”
Don’t take condescending behavior lightly. Mean girls can undermine your leadership with your team and make your job as a mentor very difficult. They will use passive aggressive tactics to paint a picture of what you are doing or not doing which can create resentment among your consultants. If you have tried the suggestions above and nothing is working, start keeping a log of everything going on and reach out to your mentor or up line. It is important that if a mean girl is undermining your work that up lines or corporate know about it so that they can try to help.
Mean girl behavior can only grow if you let it and when lots of women jump on board. Negativity breeds negativity but an positive attitude will do the same. Stay away from that drama. Take the high road. Just because you may have an issue with one mean girl doesn’t mean it has to be with many. Even if a few ladies have jumped on board the mean girl train, avoid adopting the idea that your entire team is that way. This resentment can cause you to have mean girl tendencies as well. Keep moving forward and focusing on the first 5 steps we talked about. Make your team culture a no mean girl zone.
Truth be told, this stuff does still happen on occasion but for the most part there are hundreds if not thousands that have a very positive experience in direct sales. My direct sales team is my family. They are my sisters and brothers. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. We must all learn as leaders how to deal with certain situations though in case these things arise. Keep your main focus helping people have a positive experience and many of these issues can be avoided. Wear pink on Wednesdays because your team love it and still love the ones that don’t like pink 🙂
Thinking about starting your own Direct Sales business but have been fearful of mean girls or being accepted. I was too, but let’s chat and see if we can put those fears to rest. Starting this type of thing is simply about finding your own tribe, people that love you unconditionally. Connect with me and let’s see if our tribe is the one for you.