EP 1778 Truthfully, I find this question obnoxious and, of asked if a woman, suggests either/or gender bias or projecting qualities onto her for no reason.  Regardless, I offer two ways to answer the question.

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So, the question is one that I find particularly obnoxious.

Have you ever been described as “stubborn” or “inflexible?”

I have 2 ways of answering this question. And the 1st 1 is … understand, this is only to be asked of someone in a manager level. No C level professional is ever going to be asked this.

I think this is for those who are transitioning into leadership and someone has some issue that's being reflected in their current organization that is requiring this question to be asked.. So the question of, “Have the you ever been described to ‘stubborn’ or ‘inflexible‘ is one where a less experienced person's ideas have been heard and haven't been agreed with and I've made another decision. I've attempted to explain the reason for my decision, but ultimately, I'm responsible for the choice. I've made that choice., And the less experienced person believes that they are right. .

“Yes, I've attempted to explain it, but sometimes people throw stones at others without understanding the seat that person is in.” That is one way of answering the question.

I think it's one where you’re basically saying, “Look, junior people don't know everything, but they think they do and thus that they label others and provide that kind of criticism.”

Here is answer number 2. It is an interesting one because it is a gender specific one.

You are a woman in this particular situation and, to me, this is a sexist question then. So, if asked this question, much the same answer is going to be offered, but with one preface.

“It’s unfortunate that when a woman makes a decision and she sticks with it, her subordinates will sometimes take shots at her as being stubborn and inflexible because she's weighed all the choices and made a decision that they don't I agree with. It's unfortunate this happens but stubborn, inflexible …those are labels that are used by junior people e labels that are used by junior people against women to hold them back.

I must, in all candor say that this is not something that has happened to me. I’ve explained to my people why I make certain choices; I hear them out . . . but I've never been labeled in this way.

“Don't get me wrong. I can be very firm with people. I can be very determined, but stubborn? Inflexible? That's not part of my behavior pattern. I’ve never known anyone who has accused me of being that way.

Again, 2 ways to handle it. One has the preface to it to deal with the gender issue there.

ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1700 episodes and “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was named a Top 10 podcast for job search. JobSearchTV.com is also a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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