It’s obvious I am outspoken about women’s issues—and I mean many kinds of issues surrounding women. Not just external problems like equal pay and balanced leadership, but the stuff women do to each other. Even though we are making advances, the root of the issue is between us – still..
I address ideas that I find are worth discussing through blog posts or videos. Over the last few months, especially during the primaries, there was so much material to choose from. It somehow felt like the nirvana of controversies.
Any opponent who questions the facts or has a different opinion is asking for a violent take down. Sex, gender, orientation, religion, even past digressions of your partner or yourself—everything is fair game.
When the leader’s sense of obligation to actually lead by moral example is trumped by his desire to win at all costs, his followers feel they have carte blanche to do the same. It’s pack mentality at its best. And so it should be no surprise to see Trump followers engage in physical altercations, or Bernie supporters hurling vulgar language at a democratic convention. And suddenly we feel like part of a Hollywood reality show.
We use this same behavior when discussing topics like the election, business, and women, especially when engaged on online forums like Facebook and LinkedIn. We read something and we disagree with it, and we have to let others know. We only follow what we buy into because it mounts our point of view. Sometimes we don’t even read the entire article, we just believe we disagree because of a catchy headline or even a photograph.
Let’s face it, there will always be plenty to disagree about. And that is where, as leaders, we have to step up. Because a leader knows that if there is such discord and emotion, the issue must be touching a raw nerve.
Leaders know there is always a choice. Either we use our dissatisfaction to burn down the building (that we never liked anyway) and justify our behaviors because others are doing it, too. Or, we recognize our desire to retaliate and decide not to act on it. Instead, we find the underlying issue and deal with that.
While both men and women can get pretty upset when faced with a difference of opinion, I have observed one thing about women that I want to fix through The Women’s Code. It’s the destroy-other-women technique. Let me explain.
My wonderful new admin assistant posted a blog in a LinkedIn Group that wasn’t exactly a perfect fit for the group. The group is for women in photography and my post was about the difficult choices working women have to make when faced with a cheating spouse. As I said, not the best fit. But not the worst either.
Some readers ‘liked’ the post but didn’t comment, so I decided not to remove it. However, one woman strongly objected to my article. She commented, and then commented again. I apologized that the article was not a good fit for her, but I still kept the post up. Others had liked it, after all. A second woman entered the conversation and threatened to leave the group if I were not put in my place, which lead to the first woman to respond with a few more comments before finally and publicly demanding I be banned from the group and my post taken down.
The best part about spirited discussions is they allow us to grow—when we let other opinions stand. My point is that we want to remind ourselves we do not speak for others unless we are their elected leaders.
For us women, I want to see us adapt more of a “So what?” attitude and let stuff go. Instead of going for the final kill, how about we make an effort to acknowledge our differences without judgments? Finally, as the man in my life always says, “Is it worth your energy?”
For my part I make a big effort to keep my responses aligned with my beliefs, and that is a daily challenge. I am not a saint and ignorance rubs me the wrong way.
But then I remind myself that at the end of the day it is always about the people and that makes it easy to determine if and how I should respond.
At her lowest point, Beate Chelette was $135,000 in debt, a single mother, and forced to leave her home. Only 18 months later, she sold her image licensing business to Bill Gates in a multimillion dollar deal. Chelette is a nationally known ‘gender decoder’ who has appeared in over 60 radio shows, respected speaker, career coach, consummate creative entrepreneur, and author of Happy Woman Happy World. Beate is also the founder of The Women’s Code, a unique guide to women leadership and personal and career success that offers a new code of conduct for today’s business, private, and digital worlds. Determined to build a community of women supporting each other, she took her life-changing formula documented it all in a book Brian Tracy calls “an amazing handbook for every woman who wants health, happiness, love and success!”
Through her corporate initiative “Why Acting Like a Girl Is Good For Business” she helps companies with gender diversification training, and to develop and retain women.
If you’d like to book Beate as a speaker on New Leadership Balance or Creative Entrepreneurship for your next event please connect with me.