As I may have mentioned at some point in the past, I work with some pretty terrific men. I work with nine of them and I am one of two women. These men are hugely attentive to what is going on around them. I have seen them stop conversations to open the door for me if my hands are full. They have come and asked me if they can move my car when it starts raining and ends up in a rain puddle so I don't have to wade to it. I was at a party once and broke my plastic fork and one of them jumped up and got me two before I got a chance to get my own, saying, "I got you two because those things break pretty easy." They come to me with things they been thinking about that will help me. I told one of my friends that I work with a bunch on knights who think part of being a man is helping out those around them. I had one person in my office once who was known for blowing up, the guy across the hall came and stood in the doorway as I dealt with him. He didn't say anything, he just stood there, all 6' 5" of him. After the guy left he told me if I ever have trouble with that person to let him know. I am so not used to that, but I find I am basking in it.
Enter the new guy. He is peripheral to me but I do encounter him now and then, but it is pretty rare. He doesn't really say thank you, he gets kind of bossy even though he is not a boss to me at all and apparently he treats every woman he encounters in much the same way. The guys from the first paragraph aren't fond of that. Knowing that he will listen to them before they will listen to the "woman", they speak up and say things like "She said..." and repeat exactly what has been said by the woman. Luckily for the two women who have to work with him, he will be gone in a couple of months since he was only on temporary assignment.
But here's the interesting part...the other day I am in my office and the new guy is with the boss. The boss is firmly in the first paragraph. In fact he sees it as his job to make the jobs of all those with whom he works easier. If you come to him with a problem he tries to find a way to solve it, or he tells you he can't help and he's sorry but you just have to deal. When he is sent snarky e-mails about me that I am cc'd on, he responds to the e-mailer with compliments to me and how they are wrong in their perceptions. Some people lack civility. When I asked him about the latest e-mail he said his mother told him if he couldn't say something nice, don't say anything at all, but he responded in a measured manner letting the e-mailer know that what I was doing was a good thing, it would help the firm, and that he fully supported me. He also told me he has had conversations with one of the other higher ups, who is another nice guy about how rude people are with each other.
So...so...here's the really cool part. He has the new guy in his office and I hear my boss telling him that he needs to change the way he deals with people. First, he told him he needs to let people finish their thoughts before he interrupts (Amen, brother!). My boss told him, take a pad of paper to every meeting you have with people and if you have a thought, jot it down so you don't forget and then AFTER the other person finishes their thought then you can tell them your thoughts. He had a few other hints for him too. The part about listening is what got my attention though, how often are we planning what we are going to say without listening to what the person talking to us is saying. Or do we interrupt because we are afraid we are going to forget what we were going to say. I thought the boss was giving great advice that will help the new guy be a better administrator, but also make him more liked. Why is he telling the guy this? I think part of it was complaints that were made, but I also think he has noticed the new guy is not liked and he wants to help him. I think that means the boss is listening and paying attention...like I said, I am pretty lucky.