I believe in women. I think we are strong beyond measure. We are creators of life. We are extraordinary entrepreneurs and corporate leaders.
We just don’t seem to know it.
My grandmother knew it. She lost my grandfather in her early fifties, but managed to find a job as a minister and support herself for the rest of her life. I never heard her say a negative word about anybody with whom she worked.
A colleague of mine in a consulting gig knew it. Carol was strong, and fair, and one of the hardest working leaders I know. She never played dirty, and worked with me to lead successful projects.
But I feel a need to address those females who seem to make it their life purpose to wrestle other women to the ground.
Why do women turn on women?
It’s a topic I hear discussed at every seminar I lead, and I think it’s a complex story.
The facts tell us that our career path narrows at the top. There aren’t many women there, but widening the path takes time. Therefore, our next option is to push past other women.
We are used to having men as leaders, but not so comfortable with women in leadership positions. So we undermine each other.
And then there are those women who seem to enjoy the fight.
I had a friend who had been with a company for over a decade. The Human Resources leader retired, and a new woman was brought onboard.
Almost immediately, the new HR leader began to spread negative messages about my friends’ behavior at work, even though her ten-year record with the company was impeccable. The CEO supported my friend, but after two years of battling this woman, she walked away from a key leadership position without another job.
I’ve experienced a similar situation, as have many of my seminar participants.
Since we can’t physically shove these women down, no matter how much we want to (or is that just me?), perhaps we work on telling a new story that won’t support them.
How we can change the story of women
The beauty of story is that it can be instantaneously changed by reframing the situation. Women need to gather around the campfire and work on a new tale.
Perhaps we start seeing other women as the perfect work collaborators – those who understand the importance of intuition and behavior.
I think we learn to join arms with those women who make a positive difference and augment our skills.
Let’s tell a new story where we believe in our own power. Love who we are. Speak up confidently. Know that our ideas are good and that we don’t have to knock anybody down to stand tall.
My work situation broke my heart for a while, until I realized that I acted with honor. As I moved on, I realized that I like the person who went with me. One person’s painful story did not negatively rewrite mine, although I did gain ten pounds.
Once upon a time . . .
There were female leaders who did incredible work together.
They lifted each other up, and made each other better.
They shared ideas, and touched the lives of colleagues.
They transformed companies with their ingenuity and tenacity.
They partnered effectively with both genders, and treated others the way they wanted to be treated.
And once all women found their power, it was too much for those who wanted to tear them down.
And a new truth was born.