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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Monday 17 March 2014

Paikin, Power and The Ladies

It would blow my mind, this societal disconnect we have - if I didn't get where it comes from.

On the whole, people value and reward bluster; men who demand more at work get more, just as those willing to learn golf to suck up to the boss are more likely to get promotions.

"It's all about relationships," we're told, even as the bosses of the world practice laissez-faire capitalism and expect their employees to come all the way to them.

It is all about relationships, in terms of who's dominant in any given situation.  The reason women are being encouraged to play golf is because, when you get down to it, paying homage to dominance is being encouraged as an employable skill.

What these relationships aren't about (but should be if you want to stay successful) is about strengthening everyone.

That would be a bit too much like committing sociology, wouldn't it?

There was this thing for a while where assumptions made about women and positions of power - namely, that access to those positions was causing women to act more like men.

That's not the case.  If anything the opening up of fields like politics or Boards without significant and matching culture changes has meant that it's women who behave in more stereo-typically male fashion - aggressive, selfish, reactive - get ahead.  

Is that their fault, or is it ours, collectively?

At the same time as we have massive egos duking it out while pretending to plan policy or do business, we have leaders - real leaders - who aren't drawing a lot of attention to themselves but are getting a lot of solid work done, and that without massive resource or constant pats on the head.

If I were to sit down and rhyme off the names of the top 20 famous/successful people I know, they'd predominantly be men in business and politics.  If, however, I was asked to name the top 20 influential/accomplished people I know, the list would be predominantly women and reference their roles as leaders of engagement or social purpose ventures.

It reminds me of a campaign I worked on once where a couple of twenty-something men were being asked about a project they'd been assigned.  

There was some bold, empty statements followed up with bluster and finger-pointing when pointed questions couldn't be answered.  Meanwhile, a slightly older women who'd been collaborating with them quietly went to a folder, pulled out the work being discussed and placed it between the two boys.

There's a big difference between sales/promotion and leadership/empowerment.

If you sit in your office and wonder why the women aren't banging on your door for a chance to sell themselves, you're losing out - we are losing out.

Instead of issuing the television equivalent of a mating call, get 'out and look for women leaders who are changing the world from the front lines and are simply too busy to worry about the blustering boys at the top.

And remember - money, ratings, whatever, it's always the case that you need them more than they need you.

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