When I worked in the corporate world, I heard comments such as:
- “Are you getting soft?” when I would suggest collaborating over the standard approach that never worked: “let’s beat them into the ground”
- “Are you being emotional?” when expressing concerns about a project’s stalemate
- “Aren’t you going to clean up?” when everyone was equidistant to the trash can
These experiences annoyed me then. Now, I see them as the men’s attempts to feel powerful. At the same time, I wonder how I’d think, feel and behave differently if I had never had those and other such experiences at work.
Hmmm. How would we women be if we felt safe in life? Would we feel more relaxed? Dress differently? Express our emotions in the moment, more frequently? Go to places we currently don’t go? Love more courageously? Be more affectionate?
What if our work environments were safe? Would we be more creative? Speak up more frequently? Take a stand for what’s right regardless of the consequences? Talk about our concerns? Listen to each other more respetfully? Hold space for our own and other’s emotions?
How would we lead differently? Shift out of using the directive leadership style? Balance shyness with courage? Maybe nurture more buoyant team cultures, where everyone feels free to be their best? How would we respond to mistakes or failure?
It seems to me that if we women felt safe in the world, we’d think, feel and behave quite differently. Among other things, we’d feel free.
Imagine a world where women and men felt safe.
We can create such a world through human-centric leading.
[Image from Freepik]