Get Your Matriarch On

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wake-up-call
Dear Sally
Weekly Advice Straight From The Horse’s Mouth.

Dear Sally,

Lately, I’ve noticed my plate is too full. I’m overwhelmed, irritable, and snapping at people. I’m normally not that kind of person and it’s upsetting to me and those around me that I’m acting this way. But it feels like everyone wants a piece of me. I’m in a director role in a tech company and I manage a group of people who seem to always need me. It’s like I have to keep ALL of the momentum going or things don’t get done.

At home, my husband and kids are constantly asking for my attention or help. I feel like pushy and whiny and like I’m always nagging someone. Yet, if I stop, nothing happens. I mean, NOTHING. It’s exhausting!

The worst part is that I feel like a bad leader. Like I’m totally failing at being a powerful woman.

Dear Snappy and Overwhelmed:

Let me warn you that you’re probably not going to like what I have to say. I’m going to say some things that probably make your tail swish. Are you ready?

Is it possible that you’ve taught all of these people to behave this way? Have you shown them over and over that you will be there to support them? Is it possible that you haven’t taught people how to support YOU as a leader?

Just sit with that for a minute…

Female humans seem to have forgotten a few key factors about being a matriarch. That’s right. Time for a crash course in how to get your matriarchy up and running. You’re already cringing, I can tell. I’m a horse. I have super awareness powers and can feel humans resist my advice as they read it. All kidding aside.

Leaders, especially female humans, tend to create herds that are out of balance. It’s not that people “need” you to hold their hands or push them to get things done. But you are their leader and they have come to LIKE the feeling of your support. They want your approval and validation. All mammals like the social connection of doing things together. They feel the comfort and warmth of having you at their side. But listen lady, you can’t go on like this!

If you really are the leader, it’s time to start acting like it. You are the culture setter. You create the vision. Those around you are there to support your leadership. But you have to start expecting it. You have to learn to ask for help. This is really a mindset change. When you truly own your role as a leader and value what you bring to your people, you will protect your energy and asking for help will become more natural to you.

Here’s a handy set of statements that you can use as a checklist of sorts:

  • I know my vision and what I am creating.
  • I know the roles I want and need others to play for this vision to be successful.
  • I let others know my unique role as the leader and why I need them to do their parts.
  • I clearly ask for the help and support I need from others.
  • I set a culture of accountability. I will follow through and I expect you to do the same.

If you get stuck at one of these statements, you’ll know where the work is needed. Remember, like anything else, learning new things is hard. It isn’t going to feel comfortable asking others to help and support you. You’ll think you are failing as a leader. Remember, humans are the only mammals for which pride and ego get in the way of interdependence and community. Allowing others to support your leadership fully gives them the gift of feeling truly useful.

Love, Sally

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