Something I struggle with as a woman in a position of leadership is dealing with things authentically when they go south.
One of the main functions of running a business is problem solving. Things are always going wrong especially when a company is coming out of the start-up phase and into growth mode. In my business, this fact has one hundred percent rang true.
It's interesting though, because I feel like addressing these issues works differently for a woman, than it does for a man
When sh*t hits the fan, my first reaction is to feel pissed off about it and want to lash out. But even as the head boss in charge, I always stop myself from addressing problems while in that state of mind. Instead I go through an entire dialogue in my head where I am thinking about not making someone feel bad, holding back, and being very diplomatic -causing me to go about it in a different way than what my original feelings on the situation would have suggested. In the end, I have found that this mental thing I go through causes my final message to come out very diluted. Whereas it seems that men take things head on and will usually go with the initial reaction by addressing people while in that state of mind, essentially handling conflict with an"it is what it is"attitude. For men addressing the issue is more like "this is what it is, end of story." However, for myself and other women, I have found that it is more like "UGHHHH pissed, wait let me not... because that's not motivating for the team, I don't want to ruin company culture... let me address this in a nice way."
The truth is that as women in charge, we often push ourselves toward being inauthentic. And upon further thought, I have found that this inauthenticity may be rooted in lack of confidence. I think that women naturally struggle with confidence more than men do (hence why rarely do women negotiate their salaries, fight for promotions, etc.). There is actually a study that says that men will apply to a job when they posses only one of a large list of required skills whereas women will only apply if they feel they have ALL of the skills listed. How crazy is that!? I don't know about you but this makes me want to work at my confidence. I not only want to start showing up for myself, but also for my business in a different way.
One of the biggest pieces of advice I often give women going into business for themselves is to know your value as a woman in business. I now see that this entails leading authentically. This means saying what you need to say instead of saying what you think will be best received. This means saying no instead of keeping everyone happy by saying yes. Ultimately, the behaviors of beating around the bush and being overly empathetic hinder the success we might otherwise be able to attain by addressing things more directly. So this is what I intend to do going forward, and I encourage you to try it too!
Simply being aware of these natural tendencies to shy away from what you deserve will help. Changing takes work. While at first stepping up for yourself will feel awkward and things like saying "no" will feel uncomfortable, like any other skill, you will feel more comfortable with time and practice!
Wishing you the best,
Jen HBIC <3