Mare in Management
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Hey Sally- I’ve been with my herd for 6 years, but I have never quite felt like I belong.
Sometimes I’m seen as negative more than I “should”. I’ve been told the negative talk is just not good leadership and to put a positive spin on it. I see my words as more realistic and when things are tough at work just recognizing that it’s hard and empathizing with my colleagues goes a long way. If I’m positive all the time I don’t feel real. I’m negative in a constructive way trying to figure out how to do something different.
I also heard that as a mare in management, I need to be careful of how I talk: my speed, my tone, my word choice. I can’t say “kind of” or “just”, talk too fast, be too passionate or sensitive, because it come across as not confident. I’m resistant to this change because it just doesn’t feel right to have to change my female energy just to be invited to the management table. There must be thousands of articles written on this, but I just haven’t figured out what I want to choose for myself. Sally – do you have any wisdom?
Dear Mare in Management,
Oh my. I think someone is trying to sell you bull crap packaged as corporate coaching. My advice: don’t buy it! Run the other way! There is NO one-size-fits-all approach to leadership style OR leadership strengths. There are many ways to lead and contribute to a group. Look for the truth in this feedback and seriously kick some dirt at the rest of it.
Every herd needs individuals who look out for danger and question approaches, situations, decisions. I think you people call it “quality control” or “risk management.” It’s essential! That very well may be YOUR leadership gift. For instance, my lovely friend Rosie is an amazing master of awareness. If something changes in the hills, the neighbor cows approaching, a bird landing on a post, a cat in the grass, she is the first to notice and let everyone know. One could say she is a worrier and always thinking the worst. But that is a misunderstood analysis of her. We need her to notice and pay attention and alert the group. Levi, on the other hand, is a very laid back guy and he’ll remind us to rest and nap and slow down. Together, Rosie and Levi create this thing you might have heard of…..it’s called BALANCE.
We are all contributors! Own your contribution and stand strong in it. Your sensitivity to noticing things is very unique and wonderful. Is it possible that people are questioning it or challenging your style of communicating because YOU are still questioning it? What would it be like if you were WAY more forthright with that leadership strength. So instead of trying to hide it or talk really fast through it or minimize it, you actually let it be the thing you are most transparent and open and loud about. THIS IS WHO I AM!
I just have this feeling that if you truly believed–in your heart and hooves–that what you have to offer is absolutely necessary and awesome, you would probably come across stronger and more powerful. Feminine energy has some kick to it. I will walk right up to you and look you in the eye. I want to know your heart but I’m also not messing around. I am protective and fierce but I am loyal and loving. My herd is my family and I will come forward if something is wrong. That, my human friend, is some serious feminine shit. When you get trotting along with it, you will feel the breeze in your mane and you will LOVE it. It’s natural and exactly who we are supposed to be. There isn’t a man at the executive table who even think of challenging it.