I recently had a conversation online with a woman about what a strong female leader looks like. She said that my job title, Executive and Leadership Coach for High Achieving Female Leaders was terrifying. Obviously “terrifying” is not the emotion I’m going for so I asked what was so scary about it. She said that it conjured up images of women in power suits, complete with shoulder pads, walking around on a power trip not caring about anybody.
Here’s my take on that. In order to be a good leader, you NEED to care. A leader defines and creates the vision, the big picture. A good leader is someone who can communicate that vision to everyone. And to do that, you need to be able to interact with people in a way that makes them want to listen. Being a bitch isn’t going to bode well.
Good female leaders have the ability to connect with people, to listen, to learn, to make choices that best reflect the company values, vision and mission, and make quick decisions. So, in order to be a leader you need to care. You need to care about the company, the staff, the customers, the suppliers.
It’s understandable where the bitchy, power-hungry female boss stereotype comes from. It has been portrayed in movies and on TV, and showcased in the media. Women have spent years overcoming the “old boys’ club” and did it by trying to be “one of the boys”. This way of leading was based on external expectations, expectations that were placed there by male leaders, the media and Hollywood. But that’s changing. Now women are recognizing that it’s okay to be yourself, to be vulnerable sometimes, to be tough sometimes, and to be real.
Having high standards doesn’t make you a bitch. It means that you are driven to do things on a different level than most people. It means that you see the big picture and can implement strategies to make things happen at a high level of excellence. It means that you demand that same level of excellence from your staff. Also, many corporations have diversity goals that they need to achieve and they are not going to just settle for whoever they can get. They don’t settle for less than the best. That means that your boss isn’t there by some fluke.
So, here’s the thing. Your boss is not a bitch. She has a lot going on. There are some things she needs to stand her ground on in order to make the company a success. You don’t see the everyday stuff she deals with so don’t be so quick to judge. Trust me when I say she’s not in it for the fame or the money. She’s there because she deserves to be and is working her ass off to make a difference. And yes, she does care. Give her a chance.